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A WRITER'S 
RECOLLECTIONS 



BOOKS BY 
MBS. HUMPHRY WARD 

A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

THE CORYSTON FAMILY 

ELEANOR 

FENWICK'S CAREER 

LADY ROSE'S DAUGHTER 

THE MARRIAGE OF WILLIAM ASHE 

THE TESTING OF DIANA MALLORY 



HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK 

[ESTABLISHED 1817] 




[See page 16 



HENRY JAMES 



A WRITER'S 
RECOLLECTIONS 



BY 

MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

Author of 

"ELEANOR" "LADY ROSE'S DAUGHTER" 
"THE TESTING OF DIANA MALLORY" ETC. 



ILLUSTRATED 



VOLUME II 




HARPER 6- BROTHERS PUBLISHERS 
NEW YORK AND LONDON 



PR 
s/it, 

#55 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 



Copyright, 1918. by Harper & Brothers 

Printed in the United States of America 

Published November, 1918 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. PACK 

I. LONDON IN THE 'EIGHTIES 1 

II. LONDON FRIENDS 34 

III. THE PUBLICATION OF "ROBERT ELSMERE" . . 64 

IV. FIRST VISITS TO ITALY 100 

V. AMALFI AND ROME. HAMPDEN AND " MARCELLA" 128 

VI. "HELBECK OF BANNISDALE" 162 

VII. THE VILLA BARBERINI. HENRY JAMES . . . 192 

VIII. ROMAN FRIENDS. "ELEANOR" 211 

EPILOGUE . . . .... 232 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

HENRY JAMES Frontispiece 

ARTHUR BALFOUR/ Facing p. 42 

GOLD WIN SMITH " 96 

M. JUSSERAND " 126 



A WRITER'S 
RECOLLECTIONS 

CHAPTER I 



LONDON IN THE 'EIGHTIES 



THE few recollections of William Forster 
that I have put together in the preced- 
ing volume lead naturally, perhaps, to some 
account of my friendship and working rela- 
tions at this time with Forster's most 
formidable critic in the political press- 
Mr. John Morley, now Lord Morley. It 
was in the late 'seventies, I think, that I 
first saw Mr. Morley. I sat next him at the 
Master's dinner-table, and the impression he 
made upon me was immediate and lasting. 
I trust that a great man, to whom I owed 
much, will forgive me for dwelling on some 
of the incidents of literary comradeship 
which followed! 

My husband and I, on the way home, com- 
pared notes. We felt that we had just been 

i 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

in contact with a singular personal power 
combined with a moral atmosphere which 
had in it both the bracing and the charm that, 
physically, are the gift of the heights. The 
" austere" Radical, indeed, was there. With 
regard to certain vices and corruptions of 
our life and politics, my uncle might as well 
have used Mr. Morley's name as that of 
Mr. Frederick Harrison, when he presented 
us, in "Friendship's Garland," with Mr. 
Harrison setting up a guillotine in his back 
garden. There was something there al- 
always has been something of the som- 
ber intensity of the prophet in Mr. Mor- 
ley. Burke drew, as we all remember, an 
ineffaceable picture of Marie Antoinette's 
young beauty as he saw it in 1774, contrasting 
it with the " abominable scenes" amid which 
she perished. Mr. Morley's comment is: 

But did not the protracted agonies of a nation 
deserve the tribute of a tear? As Paine asked, 
were men to weep over the plumage and forget 
the dying bird? ... It was no idle abstraction, 
no metaphysical right of man for which the 
French cried, but only the practical right of 
bring permitted, by their own toil, to save them- 
selves and the little ones about their knees 
from hunger and cruel death. 

The cry of the poor, indeed, against the 

rich and tyrannous, the cry of the persecuted 

2 



LONDON IN THE 'EIGHTIES 

Liberal, whether in politics or religion, 
against his oppressors it used to seem to 
me, in the 'eighties, when, to my pleasure 
and profit, I was often associated with Mr. 
Morley, that in his passionate response to 
this double appeal lay the driving impulse of 
his life and the secret of his power over others. 
While we were still at Oxford he had brought 
out most of his books: On Compromise the 
fierce and famous manifesto of 1874 and 
the well-known volumes on the Encyclope- 
dists, Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot. It was 
not for nothing that he had been a member 
of Pattison's college; and a follower of John 
Stuart Mill. The will to look the grimmest 
facts of life and destiny in the face, without 
flinching, and the resolve to accept no 
" anodyne" from religion or philosophy, 
combined with a ceaseless interest in the 
human fate and the human story, and a 
natural, inbred sympathy for the many 
against the few, for the unfortunate against 
the prosperous; it was these ardors and the 
burning sincerity with which he felt them, 
that made him so great a power among us, 
his juniors by half a generation. I shall 
never lose the impression that Compromise, 
with its almost savage appeal for sincerity in 
word and deed, made upon me an impres- 
sion which had its share in Robert Elsmere. 

3 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

But together with this tragic strenuousness 
there was always the personal magic which 
winged it and gave it power. Mr. Morley 
has known all through his life what it was 
to be courted, by men and women alike, for 
the mere pleasure of his company; in which 
he resembled another man whom both he 
and I knew well Sir Alfred Lyall. It is 
well known that Mr. Gladstone was fasci- 
nated by the combination in his future biog- 
rapher of the Puritan, the man of iron con- 
viction, and the delightful man of letters. 
And in my own small sphere I realized both 
aspects of Mr. Morley during the 'eighties. 
Just before we left Oxford I had begun to 
write reviews and occasional notes for the 
Pall Mall, which he was then editing; after 
we settled in London, and he had become 
also editor of Macmillan, he asked me, to 
my no little conceit, to write a monthly 
causerie on a book or books for that maga- 
zine. I never succeeded in writing nearly so 
many; but in two years I contributed per- 
haps eight or ten papers until I became 
absorbed in Robert Elsmere and Mr. Morley 
gave up journalism for politics. During that 
time my pleasant task brought me into fre- 
quent contact with my editor. Nothing 
could have been kinder than his letters; at 
the same time there was scarcely one of them 



LONDON IN THE 'EIGHTIES 

that did not convey some hint, some touch 
of the critical goad, invaluable to the recip- 
ient. I wrote him a letter of wailing when 
he gave up the editorship and literature and 
became Member for Newcastle. Such a fall 
it seemed to me then! But Mr. Morley 
took it patiently. "Do not lament over 
your friend, but pray for him!" As, indeed, 
one might well do, in the case of one who for 
a few brief months in 1886 was to be 
Chief Secretary for Ireland, and again in 
1892-95. 

It was, indeed, in connection with Ireland 
that I became keenly and personally aware 
of that other side of Mr. Morley's character 
the side which showed him the intransigent 
supporter of liberty at all costs and all 
hazards. It was, I suppose, the brilliant 
and pitiless attacks in the Pall Mall on 
Mr. Forster's Chief-Secretaryship, which, as 
much as anything else, and together with 
what they reflected in the Cabinet, weak- 
ened my uncle's position and ultimately led 
to his resignation in the spring of 1882. 
Many of Mr. Forster's friends and kinsfolk 
resented them bitterly; and among the kins- 
folk, one of them, I have reason to know, 
made a strong private protest. Mr. Mor- 
ley's attitude in reply could only have been 
that which is well expressed by a sentence of 

IL 2 5 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

Darmesteter's about Renan: "So pliant in 
appearance, so courteous in manner, he be- 
came a bar of iron as soon as one sought to 
wrest from him an act or word contrary to 
the intimate sense of his conscience." 

But no man has a monopoly of conscience. 
The tragedy was that here were two men, 
both democrats, both humanitarians, but 
that an executive office, in a time of hideous 
difficulty, had been imposed upon the one, 
from which the other his critic was free. 
Ten years later, when Mr. Morley was 
Chief Secretary, it was pointed out that the 
same statesman who had so sincerely and 
vehemently protested in the case of William 
Forster and Mr. Balfour against the revival 
of "obsolete" statutes, and the suppression 
of public meetings, had himself been obliged 
to put obsolete statutes in operation sixteen 
times, and to prohibit twenty-six public 
meetings. These, however, are the whirligigs 
of politics, and no politician escapes them. 

In my eyes Lord Morley's crowning 
achievement in literature is his biography 
of Mr. Gladstone. How easy it would have 
been to smother Mr. Gladstone in stale 
politics! and how stale politics may be- 
come in that intermediate stage before they 
pass finally into history! English political 
literature is full of biography of this kind. 



LONDON IN THE 'EIGHTIES 

The three notable exceptions of recent years 
which occur to me are Mr. Churchill's Life 
of his father, the Disraeli biography still in 
progress, and the Gladstone. But it would 
be difficult indeed to " stale" the story of 
either Lord Randolph or Dizzy. A biog- 
rapher would have to set about it of malice 
prepense. In the case, however, of Mr. 
Gladstone, the danger was more real. Angli- 
can orthodoxy, eminent virtue, unfailing 
decorum; a comparatively weak sense of 
humor, and a literary gift much inferior to 
his oratorical gift, so that the most famous 
of his speeches are but cold reading now; 
interminable sentences, and an unfailing 
relish for detail all important in its day, but 
long since dead and buried; the kind of 
biography that, with this material, half a 
dozen of Mr. Gladstone's colleagues might 
have written of him, for all his greatness, 
rises formidably on the inward eye. The 
younger generation waiting for the historian 
to come except in the case of those whose 
professional duty as politicians it would have 
been to read it might quite well have 
yawned and passed by. 

But Mr. Morley's literary instinct, which 
is the artistic instinct, solved the problem. 
The most interesting half of the book will 

always, I think, be the later half. In the 

7 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

great matters of his hero's earlier career 
Free Trade, the Crimean War, the early 
budgets, the slow development of the Liberal 
leader from the Church and State Conserva- 
tive of 1832, down to the franchise battle of 
the 'sixties and the "great Ministry," as 
Mr. Morley calls it, of 1868, the story is told, 
indeed, perhaps here and there at too great 
length, yet with unfailing ease and lucidity. 
The teller, however, is one who, till the late 
'seventies, was only a spectator, and, on the 
whole, from a distance, of what he is describ- 
ing, who was indeed most of the time pursu- 
ing his own special aims i. e., the hewing 
down of orthodoxy and tradition, together 
with the preaching of a frank and uncompro- 
mising agnosticism, in the Fortnightly Review; 
aims which were, of all others, most opposed 
to Mr. Gladstone's. But with the 'eighties 
everything changes. Mr. Morley becomes 
a great part of what he tells. During the 
intermediate stage marked by his editor- 
ship of the Pall Mall Gazette the tone of the 
biography grows sensibly warmer and more 
vivid, as the writer draws nearer and nearer 
to the central scene; and with Mr. Morley 's 
election to Newcastle and his acceptance of 
the Chief-Secretaryship in 1885, the book 
becomes the fascinating record of not one 
man, but two, and that without any intrusion 



LONDON IN THE 'EIGHTIES 

whatever on the rights of the main figure. 
The dreariness of the Irish struggle is light- 
ened by touch after touch that only Mr. 
Morley could have given. Take that picture 
of the somber, discontented Parnell, coming, 
late in the evening, to Mr. Morley's room 
in the House of Commons, to complain of the 
finance of the Home Rule Bill Mr. Glad- 
stone's entrance at 10.30 P.M., after an 
exhausting day and he, the man of seventy- 
seven, sitting down to work between the 
Chief Secretary and the Irish leader, till at 
last, with a sigh of weariness at nearly 1 A.M., 
the tired Prime Minister pleads to go to bed. 
Or that most dramatic story, later on, of 
Committee Room No. 15, where Mr. Morley 
becomes the reporter to Mr. Gladstone of 
that moral and political tragedy, the fall of 
Parnell; or a hundred other sharp lights 
upon the inner and human truth of things, 
as it lay behind the political spectacle. All 
through the later chapters, too, the happy 
use of conversations between the two men 
on literary and philosophical matters relieves 
what might have been the tedium of the 
end. For these vivid notes of free talk not 
only bring the living Gladstone before you 
in the most varied relation to his time; they 
keep up a perpetually interesting comparison 
in the reader's mind between the hero and 

9 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

his biographer. One is as eager to know 
what Mr. Morley is going to say as one is to 
listen to Mr. Gladstone. The two men, 
with their radical differences and their pas- 
sionate sympathies, throw light on each 
other, and the agreeable pages achieve a 
double end, without ever affecting the real 
unity of the book. Thus handled, biog- 
raphy, so often the drudge of literature, rises 
into its high places and becomes a delight in- 
stead of an edifying or informing necessity. 

I will add one other recollection of this 
early time i. e., that in 1881 the reviewing 
of Mr. Morley's Cobden in the Times fell to 
my husband, and as those were the days of 
many-column reviews, and as the time given 
for the review was exceedingly short, it could 
only be done at all by a division of labor. 
We divided the sheets of the book, and we 
just finished in time to let my husband rush 
off to Printing House Square and correct the 
proofs as they went through the press for 
the morning's issue. In those days, as is 
well known, the Times went to press much 
later than now, and a leader-writer rarely 
got home before 4, and sometimes 5, A.M. 



I find it extremely difficult, as I look back, 

to put any order into the crowding memories 

10 



LONDON IN THE 'EIGHTIES 

of those early years in London. They were 
extraordinarily stimulating to us both, and 
years of great happiness. At home our 
children were growing up ; our own lives were 
branching out into new activities and bring- 
ing us always new friends, and a more inter- 
esting share in that "great mundane move- 
ment" which Mr. Bottles believed would 
perish without him. Our connection with 
the Times and with the Forsters, and the 
many new acquaintances and friends we 
made at this time in that happy meeting- 
ground of men and causes Mrs. Jeune's 
drawing-room opened to us the world of 
politicians; while my husband's four volumes 
on The English Poets, published just as we 
left Oxford, volumes to which all the most 
prominent writers of the day had contributed, 
together with the ever-delightful fact that 
Matthew Arnold was my uncle, brought us 
the welcome of those of our own metier and 
way of life; and when in 1884 my husband 
became art critic of the paper, a function 
which he filled for more than five and twenty 
years, fresh doors opened on the already 
crowded scene, and fresh figures stepped in. 
The setting of it all was twofold in the 
first place, our dear old house in Russell 
Square, and, in the next, the farm on Rod- 
borough Common, four miles from Godal- 

11 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

ming, where, amid a beauty of gorse and 
heather that filled every sense on a summer 
day with the mere joy of breathing and look- 
ing, our children and we spent the holiday 
hours of seven goodly years. The Russell 
Square house has been, so to speak, twice 
demolished and twice buried, since we lived 
in it. Some of its stones must still lie deep 
under the big hotel which now towers on its 
site. That it does not still exist somewhere, 
I can hardly believe. The westerly sun 
seems to me still to be pouring into the 
beautiful little hall, built and decorated about 
1750, with its panels of free scrollwork in 
blue and white, and to be still glancing 
through the drawing-rooms to the little 
powder-closet at the end, my tiny workroom, 
where I first sketched the plan of Robert 
Elsmere for my sister Julia Huxley, and 
where, after three years, I wrote the last 
words. If I open the door of the back draw- 
ing-room, there, to the right, is the children's 
school-room. I see them at their lessons, 
and the fine plane-trees that look in at the 
window. And up-stairs there are the pleas- 
ant bedrooms and the nurseries. It was 
born, the old house, in the year of the Young 
Pretender, and, after serving six generations, 
perhaps as faithfully as it served us, it "fell 

on sleep." There should be a special Ely- 

12 



LONDON IN THE 'EIGHTIES 

slum, surely, for the houses where the fates 
have been kind and where people have been 
happy ; and a special Tartarus for those of 
(Edipus or Atreus in which "old, unhappy, 
far-off things" seem to be always poisoning 
the present. 

As to Borough Farm now the head- 
quarters of the vast camp which stretches to 
Hindhead it stood then in an unspoiled 
wilderness of common and wood, approached 
only by what we called "the sandy track" 
from the main Portsmouth Road, with no 
neighbors for miles but a few scattered cot- 
tages. Its fate had been harder than that of 
61 Russell Square. The old London house 
has gone clean out of sight, translated, 
whole and fair, into a world of memory. 
But Borough and the common are still here 
as war has made them. Only may I 
never see them again! 

It was in 1882, the year of Tel-el-Kebir, 
when we took Peperharrow Rectory (the 
Murewell Vicarage of Robert Elsmere) for the 
summer, that we first came across Borough 
Farm. We left it in 1889. I did a great 
deal of work, there and in London, in those 
seven years. The Macmillan papers I have 
already spoken of. They were on many 
subjects Tennyson's "Becket," Mr. Pater's 
"Marius," "The Literature of Introspec- 

13 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

tion," Jane Austen, Keats, Gustavo Becquer, 
and various others. I still kept up my 
Spanish to some extent, and I twice ex- 
aminedin 1882 and 1888 for the Tay- 
lorian scholarship in Spanish at Oxford, our 
old friend, Doctor Kitchin, afterward Dean 
of Durham, writing to me with glee that I 
should be "making history" as "the first 
woman examiner of men at either Uni- 
versity." My colleague on the first occasion 
was the old Spanish scholar, Don Pascual 
de Gayangos, to whom the calendaring of the 
Spanish MSS. in the British Museum had 
been largely intrusted; and the second time, 
Mr. York Powell of Christ Church I sup- 
pose one of the most admirable Romance 
scholars of the time was associated with 
me. But if I remember right, I set the 
papers almost entirely, and wrote the report 
on both occasions. It gave me a feeling of 
safety in 1888, when my knowledge, such as 
it was, had grown very rusty, that Mr. 
York Powell overlooked the papers, seeing 
that to set Scholarship questions for post- 
graduate candidates is not easy for one 
who has never been through any proper 
"mill"! But they passed his scrutiny satis- 
factorily, and in 1888 we appointed as Tay- 
lorian Scholar a man to whom for years I 
confidently looked for the history of Spain 

14 



LONDON IN THE 'EIGHTIES 

combining both the Spanish and Arabic 
sources so admirable had his work been in 
the examination. But, alack! that great 
book has still to be written. For Mr. But- 
ler Clarke died prematurely in 1904, and the 
hope died with him. 

For the Times I wrote a good many long, 
separate articles before 1884, on " Spanish 
Novels," " American Novels," and so forth; 
the "leader" on the death of Anthony 
Trollope; and various elaborate reviews of 
books on Christian origins, a subject on 
which I was perpetually reading, always with 
the same vision before me, growing in clear- 
ness as the years passed. 

But my first steps toward its realization 
were to begin with the short story of Miss 
Bretherton, published in 1884, and then the 
translation of Amiel's Journal Intime, which 
appeared in 1885. Miss Bretherton was 
suggested to me by the brilliant success in 
1883 of Mary Anderson, and by the con- 
troversy with regard to her acting as dis- 
tinct from her delightful beauty and her 
attractive personality which arose between 
the fastidious few and the enchanted many. 
I maintained then, and am quite sure now, 
that Isabel Bretherton was in no sense a 
portrait of Miss Anderson. She was to me 
a being so distinct from the living actress 

15 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

that I offered her to the world with an entire 
good faith, which seems to myself now, per- 
haps thirty years later, hardly less surprising 
than it did to the readers of the time. For 
undoubtedly the situation in the novel was 
developed out of the current dramatic de- 
bate. But it became to me just a situation 
a problem. It was really not far removed 
from Diderot's problem in the Paradoxe sur 
le Comedien. What is the relation of the 
actor to the part represented? One actress 
is plain Rachel; another actress is beautiful, 
and more than beautiful, delightful Miss 
Anderson. But all the time, is there or is 
there not a region in which all these consider- 
ations count for nothing in comparison with 
certain others? Is there a dramatic art 
exacting, difficult, supreme or is there not? 
The choice of the subject, at that time, was, 
it may be confessed, a piece of naivete, and 
the book itself was young and nai've through- 
out. But something in it has kept it in cir- 
culation all this while; and for me it marks 
with a white stone the year in which it ap- 
peared. For it brought me my first critical 
letter from Henry James; it was the first 
landmark in our long friendship. 

Beloved Henry James! It seems to me 
that my original meeting with him was at 
the Andrew Langs' in 1882. He was then 

16 



LONDON IN THE 'EIGHTIES 

forty-two, in the prime of his working life, 
and young enough to be still " Henry James, 
Junior," to many. I cannot remember any- 
thing else of the Langs' dinner-party except 
that we were also invited to meet the author 
of Vice Versa, "which Mr. Lang thinks "- 
as I wrote to my mother "the best thing of 
its kind since Dickens." But shortly after 
that, Mr. James came to see us in Russell 
Square and a little incident happened which 
stamped itself for good on a still plastic 
memory. It was a very hot day; the west- 
ern sun was beating on the drawing-room 
windows, though the room within was com- 
paratively dark and cool. The children 
were languid with the heat, and the youngest, 
Janet, then five, stole into the drawing-room 
and stood looking at Mr. James. He put 
out a half-conscious hand to her; she came 
nearer, while we talked on. Presently she 
climbed on his knee. I suppose I made a 
maternal protest. He took no notice, and 
folded his arm round her. We talked onj 
and presently the abnormal stillness of Janet 
recalled her to me and made me look closely 
through the dark of the room. She was 
fast asleep, her pale little face on the young 
man's shoulder, her long hair streaming over 
his arm. Now Janet was a most indepen- 
dent and critical mortal, no indiscriminate 

17 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

"climber up of knees"; far from it. Nor 
was Mr. James an indiscriminate lover of 
children; he was not normally much at 
home with them, though always good to 
them. But the childish instinct had in fact 
divined the profound tenderness and chivalry 
which were the very root of his nature; and 
he was touched and pleased, as one is pleased 
when a robin perches on one's hand. 

From that time, as the precious bundle of 
his letters shows, he became the friend of 
all of us myself, my husband, and the 
children ; though with an increased intimacy 
from the 'nineties onward. In a subsequent 
chapter I will try and summarize the general 
mark left on me by his fruitful and stainless 
life. His letter to me about Miss Brether- 
ton is dated December 9, 1884. He had 
already come to see me about it, and there 
was never any critical discussion like his, 
for its suggestion of a hundred points of view, 
its flashing of unexpected lights, its witness 
to the depth and richness of his own artistic 
knowledge. 

The whole thing is delicate and distinguished 
[he wrote me] and the reader has the pleasure 
and security of feeling that he is with a woman 
(distinctly a woman!) who knows how (rare bird!) 
to write. I think your idea, your situation, inter- 
esting in a high degree But [and then come a 

18 



LONDON IN THE 'EIGHTIES 

series of most convincing "buts"! He objects 
strongly to the happy ending]. I wish that your 
actress had been carried away from Kendal [her 
critical lover, who worships herself, but despises 
her art] altogether, carried away by the current 
of her artistic life, the sudden growth of her 
power, and the excitement, the ferocity and 
egotism (those of the artist realizing success, I 
mean; I allude merely to the normal dose of 
those elements) which the effort to create, to 
"arrive" (once she had had a glimpse of her 
possible successes) would have brought with it. 
(Excuse that abominable sentence.) Isabel, the 
Isabel you describe, has too much to spare for 
Kendal Kendal being what he is; and one 
doesn't feel her, see her, enough, as the pushing 
actress, the cabotine! She lapses toward him as 
if she were a failure, whereas you make her out 
a great success. No ! she wouldn't have thought 
so much of him at such a time as that though very 
possibly she would have come back to him later. 

The whole letter, indeed, is full of ad- 
mirable criticism, sprung from a knowledge 
of life, which seemed to me, his junior by 
twelve years, unapproachably rich and full. 
But how grateful I was to him for the criti- 
cism! how gracious and chivalrous was his 
whole attitude toward the writer and the 
book! Indeed, as I look over the bundle of 
letters which concern this first novel of 
mine, I am struck by the good fortune which 

19 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

brought me such mingled chastening and 
praise, in such long letters, from judges so 
generous and competent. Henry James, 
Walter Pater, John Morley, "Mr. Creigh- 
ton" (then Emmanuel Professor at Cam- 
bridge), Cotter Morrison, Sir Henry Taylor, 
Edmond Scherer they are all there. Be- 
sides the renewal of the old throb of pleasure 
as one reads them, one feels a sort of belated 
remorse that so much trouble was taken for so 
slight a cause ! Are there similar friends nowa- 
days to help the first steps of a writer? Or is 
there no leisure left in this choked life of ours? 
The decisive criticism, perhaps, of all, is 
that of Mr. Creighton: "I find myself 
carried away by the delicate feeling with 
which the development of character is 
traced." But "You wrote this book as a 
critic not as a creator. It is a sketch of the 
possible worth of criticism in an unregener- 
ate world. This was worth doing once; but if 
you are going on with novels you must throw 
criticism overboard and let yourself go, as a 
partner of common joys, common sorrows, 
and common perplexities. There I have 
told you what I think, just as I think it." 



Miss Br ether ton was a trial trip, and it 

taught me a good deal. When it came out 

20 



LONDON IN THE 'EIGHTIES 

I had nearly finished the translation of 
Amiel, which appeared in 1885, and in 
March of that year some old friends drove 
me up the remote Westmorland valley of 
Long Sleddale, at a moment when the black- 
thorn made lines of white along the lanes; 
and from that day onward the early chapters 
of Robert Elsmere began to shape themselves 
in my mind. All the main ideas of the novel 
were already there. Elsmere was to be the 
exponent of a freer faith; Catharine had 
been suggested by an old friend of my youth; 
while Langham was the fruit of my long 
communing with the philosophic charm and 
the tragic impotence of Amiel. I began the 
book in the early summer of 1885, and 
thenceforward it absorbed me until its ap- 
pearance in 1888. 

The year 1885, indeed, was one of expand- 
ing horizons, of many new friends, of quick- 
ened pulses generally. The vastness of Lon- 
don and its myriad interests seemed to be 
invading our life more and more. I can 
recall one summer afternoon, in particular, 
when, as I was in a hansom driving idly west- 
ward toward Hyde Park Gate, thinking of a 
hundred things at once, this consciousness of 
intensification, of a heightened meaning in 
everything the broad street, the crowd of 
moving figures and carriages, the houses 

H.-3 21 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

looking down upon it seized upon me with 
a rush. "Yes, it is good the mere living!" 
Joy in the infinite variety of the great city 
as compared with the "cloistered virtue" of 
Oxford; the sheer pleasure of novelty, of the 
kind new faces, and the social discoveries one 
felt opening on many sides; the delight of 
new perceptions, new powers in oneself all 
this seemed to flower for me in those few 
minutes of reverie if one can apply such a 
word to an experience so vivid. And mean- 
while the same intensity of pleasure from 
nature that I had always been capable of 
flowed in upon me from new scenes; above 
all, from solitary moments at Borough Farm, 
in the heart of the Surrey commons, when the 
September heather blazed about me; or the 
first signs of spring were on the gorse and 
the budding trees; or beside some lonely 
pool; and always heightened now by the 
company of my children. It was a stage 
a normal stage, in normal life. But I might 
have missed it so easily! The Fates were 
kind to us in those days. 

As to the social scene, let me gather from 
it first a recollection of pure romance. One 
night at a London dinner-party I found my- 
self sent down with a very stout gentleman, 
an American Colonel, who proclaimed him- 
self an " esoteric Buddhist," and provoked 

22 



LONDON IN THE 'EIGHTIES 

in me a rapid and vehement dislike. I 
turned my back upon him and examined the 
table. Suddenly I became aware of a figure 
opposite to me, the figure of a young girl 
who seemed to me one of the most ravishing 
creatures I had ever seen. She was very 
small, and exquisitely made. Her beautiful 
head, with its mass of light-brown hair; the 
small features and delicate neck; the clear, 
pale skin, the lovely eyes with rather heavy 
lids, which gave a slight look of melancholy 
to the face; the grace and fire of every move- 
ment when she talked; the dreamy silence 
into which she sometimes fell, without a 
trace of awkwardness or shyness. But how 
vain is any mere catalogue to convey the 
charm of Laura Tennant the first Mrs. 
Alfred Lyttelton to those who never saw 
her! 

I asked to be introduced to her as soon as 
we left the dining-room, and we spent the 
evening in a corner together. 

I fell in love with her there and then. 
The rare glimpses of her that her busy life 
and mine allowed made one of my chief joys 
thenceforward, and her early death was to 
me as to so many, many others! a grief 
never forgotten. 

The recent biography of Alfred Lyttelton 
War Minister in Mr. Balfour's latest 

23 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

Cabinet skilfully and beautifully done by 
his second wife, has conveyed to the public 
of thirty years later some idea of Laura's 
imperishable charm. And I greatly hope 
that it may be followed some day by a col- 
lection of her letters, for there are many in 
existence, and, young as she was, they 
would, I believe, throw much light upon a 
crowded moment in our national life. Laura 
was the fourth daughter of Sir Charles 
Tennant, a rich Glasgow manufacturer, and 
the elder sister of Mrs. Asquith. She and 
her sisters came upon the scene in the early 
'eighties; and without any other extrinsic 
advantage but that of wealth, which in this 
particular case would not have taken them 
very far, they made a conquest the younger 
two, Laura and Margot, in particular of a 
group of men and women who formed a kind 
of intellectual and social elite; who were all 
of them accomplished; possessed, almost all 
of them, of conspicuous good looks, or of the 
charm that counts as much; and among 
whom there happened to be a remarkable 
proportion of men who have since made 
their mark on English history. My genera- 
tion knew them as "The Souls." "The 
Souls" were envied, mocked at, caricatured, 
by those who were not of them. They had 
their follies why not? They were young, 

24 



LONDON IN THE 'EIGHTIES 

and it was their golden day. Their dislike 
of convention and routine had the effect on 
many and those not fools of making con- 
vention and routine seem particularly de- 
sirable. But there was not, I think, a young 
man or woman admitted to their inner ranks 
who did not possess in some measure a 
certain quality very difficult to isolate and 
define. Perhaps, to call it " disinterested- 
ness" comes nearest. For they were cer- 
tainly no seekers after wealth, or courters of 
the great. It might be said, of course, that 
they had no occasion; they had as much 
birth and wealth as any one need want, 
among themselves. But that does not ex- 
plain it. For push and greed are among 
the commonest faults of an aristocracy. 
The immortal pages of Saint Simon are there 
to show it. "Where your treasure is, there 
will your heart be also," says the Gospel. 
Now the "treasure" among The Souls was, 
ultimately or at least tended to be some- 
thing spiritual. The typical expression of 
it, at its best, is to be found in those ex- 
quisite last words left by Laura Lyttelton 
for her husband, which the second Mrs. 
Alfred Lyttelton has, as I think, so rightly 
published. That unique "will," which for 
thirty years before it appeared in print 
was known to a wide circle of persons, many 

25 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

of whom had never seen the living Laura, 
was the supreme expression of a quality 
which, in greater or lesser degree, The Souls 
seemed to demand of one another, and of 
those who wished to join their band. Yet, 
combined with this passion, this poetry, this 
religious feeling, was first the maddest de- 
light in simple things in open air and physi- 
cal exercise; then, a headlong joy in litera- 
ture, art, music, acting; a perpetual spring 
of fun; and a hatred of all the solemn pre- 
tenses that too often make English society 
a weariness. 

No doubt there is something perhaps 
much to be said on the other side. But I 
do not intend to say it. I was never a Soul, 
nor could have been. I came from too dif- 
ferent a world. But there were a certain 
number of persons of whom I was one 
who were their "harborers" and spectators. 
I found delight in watching them. ' They 
were quite a new experience to me; and I 
saw them dramatically, like a scene in a play, 
full of fresh implications and suggestions. 
I find in an old letter to my mother an 
account of an evening at 40 Grosvenor 
Square, where the Tennants lived. 

It was not an evening party we joined a din- 
ner party there, after dining somewhere else. So 
that the rooms were empty enough to let one 

26 



LONDON IN THE 'EIGHTIES 

see the pretty creatures gathered in it, to per- 
fection. In the large drawing-room, which is 
really a ball-room with a polished floor, people 
were dancing, or thought-reading, or making 
music, as it pleased them. 

Mr. Balfour was there, with whom we had 
made friends, as fellow-guests, on a week-end 
visit to Oxford, not long before; Alfred 
Lyttelton, then in the zenith of his magnifi- 
cent youth; Lord Curzon, then plain Mr. 
Curzon, and in the Foreign Office; Mr. 
Harry Gust; Mr. Rennell Rodd, now the 
British Ambassador in Rome, and many 
others a goodly company of young men in 
their prime. And among the women there 
was a very high proportion of beauty, but 
especially of grace. "The half-lit room, the 
dresses and the beauty," says my letter, 
" reminded one of some festa painted by 
Watteau or Lancret." But with what a 
difference! For, after all, it was English, 
through and through. 

A little after this evening, Laura Tennant 
came down to spend a day at Borough Farm 
with the children and me. Another setting! 
Our principal drawing-room there in summer 
was a sand-pit, shaded by an old ash-tree 
and haunted by innumerable sand-martins. 
It was Ascension Day, and the commons 
were a dream of beauty. Our guest, I find, 

27 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

was to have come down "with Mr. Balfour 
and Mr. Burne-Jones." But in the end she 
came down alone; and we talked all day, 
sitting under hawthorns white with bloom, 
wandering through rushy fields ablaze with 
marsh marigold and orchis. She wrote to 
me the same evening after her return to 
London : 

I sit with my eyes resting on the medieval 
purple of the sweet-breathing orchis you gave 
me, and my thoughts feasting on the wonderful 
beauty of the snowy blossom against the blue. 
. . . This has been a real Ascension Day. 

Later in the year in November she 
wrote to me from Scotland she was then 
twenty-one: ' 

I am still in Scotland, but don't pity me, for 
I love it more than anything else in the wide 
world. If you could only hear the wind throw- 
ing his arm against my window, and sobbing 
down the glen. I think I shall never have a 
Lover I am so fond of as the wind. None ever 
serenaded me so divinely. And when I open 
my window wide and ask him what he wants, and 
tell him I am quite ready to elope with him now 
this moment he only moans and sighs thro' 
my outblown hair and gives me neuralgia. 
... I read all day, except when I am out with 
my Lover, or playing with my little nephew and 
niece, both of whom I adore for they are little 



LONDON IN THE 'EIGHTIES 

poets. We have had a houseful ever since 
August, so I am delighted to get a little calm. 
It is so dreadful never, never to be alone and 
really the housemaid would do just as well! 
and yet, whenever I go to my sanctum I am 
routed out as if I was of as much use as plums 
to plum pudding, and either made to play lawn- 
tennis or hide-and-seek, or to talk to a young 
man whose only idea of the Infinite is the Look- 
ing-glass. All these are the trials that attend 
the " young lady" of the house. Poor devil! 
Forgive strong language but really my sym- 
pathy is deep. 

I have, however, some really nice friends here, 
and am not entirely discontented. Mr. Gerald 
Balfour left the other day. He is very clever 
and quite beautiful like a young god. I won- 
der if you know him. I know you know Arthur. 
. . . Lionel Tennyson, who was also here with 
Gerald Balfour, has a splendid humor witty 
and "fin," which is rare in England. Lord 
Houghton, Alfred Lyttelton, Godfrey Webb, 
George Curzon, the Chesterfields, the Hayters, 
Mary Gladstone, and a lot more have been here. 
I went north, too, to the land of Thule and was 
savagely happy. I wore no hat no gloves 
I bathed, fished, boated, climbed, and kissed 
the earth, and danced round a cairn. It was 
opposite Skye at a Heaven called Loch Ailsa. 
. . . Such beauty such weather such a fort- 
night will not come again. Perhaps it would 
be unjust to the crying world for one human 

29 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

being to have more of the Spirit of Delight; but 
one is glad to have tasted of the cup, and while 
it was in my hands I drank deeply. 

I have read very little. I am hungering for a 
month or two's silence. 

But there was another lover than the 
west wind waiting for this most lovable of 
mortals. A few days afterward she wrote 
to me from a house in Hampshire, where 
many of her particular friends were gathered, 
among them Alfred Lyttelton. 

The conversation is pyrotechnic and it is all 
quite delightful. A beautiful place paradoxical 
arguments ideals raised and shattered temples 
torn and battered temptations given way to 
newspapers unread acting rhyming laughing 
ad infinitum. I wish you were here! 

Six weeks afterward she was engaged to 
Mr. Lyttelton. She was to be married in 
May, and in Easter week of that year we 
met her in Paris, where she was buying her 
trousseau, enjoying it like a child, making 
friends with all her dressmakers, and bub- 
bling over with fun about it. "It isn't 
'dressing," she said, " unless you apply 
main force to them. What they want is 
always presque pas de corsage, et pas du 
tout de manches!" 

One day she and Mr. Lyttelton and Mr. 

30 



LONDON IN THE 'EIGHTIES 

Balfour and one or two others came to tea 
with us at the Hotel Chatham to meet 
Victor Cherbuliez. The veteran French nov- 
elist fell in love with her, of course, and their 
talk Laura's French was as spontaneous 
and apparently as facile as her English- 
kept the rest of us happy. Then she mar- 
ried in May, with half London to see, and 
Mr. Gladstone - - then Prime Minister- 
mounted on the chair to make the wedding- 
speech. For by her marriage Laura became 
the great man's niece, since Alfred Lyttel- 
ton's mother was a sister of Mrs. Gladstone. 
Then in the autumn came the hope of a 
child to her who loved children so passion- 
ately. But all through the waiting time she 
was overshadowed by a strangely strong 
presentiment of death. I went to see her 
sometimes toward the end of it, when she 
was resting on her sofa in the late evening, 
and used to leave her listening for her hus- 
band's step, on his return from his work, 
her little weary face already lit up with ex- 
pectation. The weeks passed, and those 
who loved her began to be anxious. I went 
down to Borough Farm in May, and there, 
just two years after she had sat with us 
under the hawthorn, I heard the news of 
her little son's birth, and then ten days later 
the news of her death. 

31 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

With that death a ray of pure joy was 
quenched on earth. But Laura Lyttelton 
was not only youth and delight she was 
also embodied love. I have watched her in 
a crowded room where everybody wanted 
her, quietly seek out the neglected person 
there, the stranger, the shy secretary or 
governess, and make her happy bring her in 
with an art that few noticed, because in her 
it was nature. When she died she left an 
enduring mark in the minds of many who 
have since governed or guided England; 
but she was mourned also by scores of 
humble folk, and by disagreeable folk whom 
only she befriended. ' Mrs. Lyttelton quotes 
a letter written by the young wife to her 
husband : 

Tell me you love me and always will. Tell 
me, so that when I dream I may dream of Love, 
and when I sleep dreamless Love may be holding 
me in his wings, and when I wake Love may be 
the spirit in my feet, and when I die Love may 
be the Angel that takes me home. 

And in the room of death, when the last 
silence fell on those gathered there, her sister 
Margot by Laura's wish, expressed some 
time before read aloud the "will," in 
which she spoke her inmost heart. Since 
its publication it belongs to those records of 

32 



LONDON IN THE 'EIGHTIES 

life and feeling which are part of our com- 
mon inheritance. 

"She was a flame, beautiful, dancing, 
ardent," writes the second Mrs. Lyttelton. 
"The wind of life was too fierce for such a 
spirit; she could not live in it." 

I make no apology for dwelling on the life 
and earthly death of this young creature 
who was only known to a band though a 
large band of friends during her short 
years. Throughout social and literary his- 
tory there have been a few apparitions like 
hers, which touch with peculiar force, in the 
hearts of men and women, the old, deep, 
human notes which "make us men." Youth, 
beauty, charm, death they are the great 
themes with which all art, plastic or literary, 
tries to conjure. It is given to very few 
to handle them simply, yet sufficiently; with 
power, yet without sentimentality. Breathed 
into Laura's short life, they affected ^hose 
who knew her like the finest things in poetry. 



CHAPTER II 

LONDON FRIENDS 

IT was in 1874, as I have already men- 
*- tioned, that on an introduction from 
Matthew Arnold we first made friends with 
M. Edmond Scherer, the French writer and 
Senator, who more than any other person 
unless, perhaps, one divides the claim be- 
tween him and M. Faguet stepped into 
the critical chair of Sainte Beuve, after that 
great man's death. For M. Scherer's weekly 
reviews in the Temps (1863-78) were looked 
for by many people over about fifteen years, 
as persons of similar tastes had looked for the 
famous "Lundis," in the Constitutionnel of 
an earlier generation. 

We went out to call upon the Scherers at 
Versailles, coupling with it, if I remember 
right, a visit to the French National As- 
sembly then sitting in the Chateau. The 
road from the station to the palace was deep 
in snow, and we walked up behind two men 
in ardent conversation, one of them gesticu- 
lating freely. My husband asked a man 
beside us, bound also, it seemed, for the 
Assembly, who they were. "M. Gambetta 

34 



LONDON FRIENDS 

and M. Jules Favre," was the answer. So 
there we had in front of us the intrepid 
organizer of the Government of National 
Defense, whose services to France France 
will never forget, and the unfortunate states- 
man to whom it fell, under the tyrannic and 
triumphant force of Germany (which was to 
prove, as we now know, in the womb and 
process of time, more fatal to herself than 
to France!), to sign away Alsace-Lorraine. 
And we had only just settled ourselves in 
our seats when Gambetta was in the tribune, 
making a short but impassioned speech. I 
but vaguely remember what the speech was 
about, but the attitude of the lion head 
thrown back, and the tones of the famous 
voice, remain with me as it rang out in the 
recurrent phrase: "Je proteste! Messieurs, 
je protested' It was the attitude of the 
statue in the Place du Carrousel, and of the 
meridional, Numa Roumestan, in Daudet's 
well-known novel. Every word said by the 
speaker seemed to enrage the benches of the 
Right, and the tumult was so great at times 
that we were still a little dazed by it when 
we reached the quiet of the Scherers' drawing- 
room. 

M. Scherer rose to greet us, and to intro- 
duce us to his wife and daughters. A tall, 
thin man, already white-haired, with some- 

35 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

thing in his aspect which suggested his 
Genevese origin something at once ascetic 
and delicately sensitive. He was then in his 
sixtieth year, deputy for the Seine-et-Oise, 
and an important member of the Left 
Center. The year after we saw him he 
became a Senator, and remained so through 
his life, becoming more Conservative as the 
years went on. But his real importance was 
as a man of letters one of the recognized 
chiefs of French literature and thought, 
equally at war with the forces of Catholic 
reaction, then just beginning to find a 
leader in M. Bourget, and with the scientific 
materialism of M. Taine. He was when 
we first knew him a Protestant who had 
ceased to believe in any historical religion; 
a Liberal who, like another friend of ours, 
Mr. Goschen, about the same time was drift- 
ing into Conservatism; and also a man of 
strong and subtle character to whom ques- 
tions of ethics were at all times as important 
as questions of pure literature. Above all, 
he was a scholar, specially conversant with 
England and English letters. He was, for 
instance, the " French critic on Milton," on 
whom Matthew Arnold wrote one of his 
most attractive essays; and he was fond 
of maintaining and proving that when 
French people did make a serious study of 

36 



LONDON FRIENDS 

England, and English books, which he ad- 
mitted was rare, they were apt to make 
fewer mistakes about us than English writers 
make about France. 

Dear M. Scherer! I see him first in the 
little suite of carpetless rooms, empty save 
for books and the most necessary tables and 
chairs, where he lived and worked at Ver- 
sailles; amid a library "read, marked, 
learned, and inwardly digested," like that of 
Lord Acton, his English junior. And then, 
in a winter walk along the Champs-Ely sees, 
a year or two later, discussing the prospects 
of Catholicism in France: "They haven't a 
man a speaker a book! It is a real draw- 
back to us Liberals that they are so weak, 
so negligible. We have nothing to hold us 
together!" At the moment Scherer was per- 
fectly right. But the following years were 
to see the flowing back of Catholicism into 
literature, the Universities, the Ecole Nor- 
male. Twenty years later I quoted this re- 
mark of Scherer's to a young French philoso- 
pher. "True, for its date," he said. "There 
was then scarcely a single Catholic in the 
Ecole Normale [i. e., at the headwaters of 
French education]. There are now a great 
many. But they are all Modernists!" Since 
then, again, we have seen the growing 
strength of Catholicism in the French litera- 

U.-4 37 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

ture of imagination, in French poetry and 
fiction. Whether in the end it will emerge 
the stronger for the vast stirring of the 
waters caused by the present war is one of 
the most interesting questions of the present 
day. 

But I was soon to know Edmond Scherer 
more intimately. I imagine that it was he 
who in 1884 sent me a copy of the Journal 
Intime of Henri Frederic Amiel, edited by 
himself. The book laid its spell upon me at 
once; and I felt a strong wish to translate it. 
M. Scherer consented and I plunged into it. 
It was a delightful but exacting task. At 
the end of it I knew a good deal more French 
than I did at the beginning! For the book 
abounded in passages that put one on one's 
mettle and seemed to challenge every faculty 
one possessed. M. Scherer came over with 
his daughter Jeanne a schdne Seele, if ever 
there was one and we spent hours in the 
Russell Square drawing-room, turning and 
twisting the most crucial sentences this way 
and that. 

But at last the translation and my Intro- 
duction were finished and the English book 
appeared. It certainly obtained a warm wel- 
come both here and in America. There is 
something in Amiel's mystical and melan- 
choly charm which is really more attractive 

38 



LONDON FRIENDS 

to the Anglo-Saxon than the French temper. 
At any rate, in the English-speaking coun- 
tries the book spread widely, and has main- 
tained its place till now. 

The Journal is very interesting to me [wrote 
the Master of BalliolJ. It catches and detains 
many thoughts that have passed over the minds 
of others, which they rarely express, because 
they must take a sentimental form, from which 
most thinkers recoil. It is all about "self," yet 
it never leaves an egotistical or affected impres- 
sion. It is a curious combination of skepticism 
and religious feeling, like Pascal, but its elements 
are 'compounded in different proportions and the 
range of thought is far wider and more compre- 
hensive. On the other hand, Pascal is more 
forcible, and looks down upon human things 
from a higher point of view. 

Why was he unhappy? . . . But, after all, com- 
mentaries on the lives of distinguished men are 
of very doubtful value. There is the life take it 
and read it who can. 

Amiel was a great genius, as is shown by his 
power of style. . . . His Journal is a book in which 
the thoughts of many hearts are revealed. . . . 
There are strange forms of mysticism, which the 
poetical intellect takes. I suppose we must not 
try to explain them. Amiel was a Neo-Platonist 
and a skeptic in one. 

For myself [wrote Walter Pater], I shall prob- 
ably think, on finishing the book, that there was 

39 



still something Amiel might have added to those 
elements of natural religion which he was able 
to accept at times with full belief and always 
with the sort of hope which is a great factor in 
life. To my mind, the beliefs and the function 
hi the world of the historic Church form just 
one of those obscure but all-important possi- 
bilities which the human mind is powerless 
effectively to dismiss from itself, and might 
wisely accept, in the first place, as a workable 
hypothesis. The supposed facts on which Chris- 
tianity rests, utterly incapable as they have 
become of any ordinary test, seem to me matters 
of very much the same sort of assent we give to 
any assumptions, in the strict and ultimate sense, 
moral. The question whether those facts are 
real will, I think, always continue to be what I 
should call one of the natural questions of the 
human mind. 

A passage, it seems to me, of considerable 
interest as throwing light upon the inner 
mind of one of the most perfect writers, and 
most important influences of the nineteenth 
century. Certainly there is no sign in it, on 
Mr. Pater's part, of " dropping Christianity " ; 
very much the contrary. 



But all this time, while literary and medi- 
tative folk went on writing and thinking, 
how fast the political world was rushing! 

40 



LONDON FRIENDS 

Those were the years, after the defeat of 
the first Home Rule Bill, and the dismissal 
of Mr. Gladstone, of Lord Salisbury's Gov- 
ernment and Mr. Balfour's Chief-Secre- 
taryship. As I look back upon them 
those five dramatic years culminating first 
in the Parnell Commission, and then in Par- 
nell's tragic downfall and death, I see every- 
thing grouped round Mr. Balfour. From 
the moment when, in succession to Sir 
Michael Hicks Beach, Mr. Balfour took over 
the Chief-Secretaryship, his sudden and 
swift development seemed to me the most 
interesting thing in politics. We had first 
met him, as I have said, on a week-end 
visit to the Talbots at Oxford. It was then 
a question whether his health would stand 
the rough and tumble of politics. I recol- 
lect he came down late and looked far from 
robust. We traveled up to London with him, 
and he was reading Mr. Green's Prolegomena 
to Ethics, which, if I remember right, he 
was to review for Mind. 

He was then a member of the Fourth 
Party, and engaged though in a rather de- 
tached fashion in those endless raids and 
excursions against the "Goats"- i. e. } the 
bearded veterans of his own party, Sir 
Stafford Northcote in particular, of which 
Lord Randolph was the leader. But com- 

41 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

pared to Lord Randolph he had made no 
Parliamentary mark. One thought of him as 
the metaphysician, the lover of music, the 
delightful companion, always, I feel now, 
in looking back, with a prevailing conscious- 
ness of something reserved and potential in 
him, which gave a peculiar importance and 
value to his judgments of men and things. 
He was a leading figure among "The Souls," 
and I remember some delightful evenings in 
his company before 1886, when the conver- 
sation was entirely literary or musical. 

Then, with the Chief-Secretaryship there 
appeared a new Arthur Balfour. The cour- 
age, the resource, the never-failing wit and 
mastery with which he fought the Irish 
members in Parliament, put down outrage 
in Ireland, and at the same time laid the 
foundation in a hundred directions of that 
social and agrarian redemption of Ireland 
on which a new political structure will some 
day be reared is perhaps even now about 
to rise these things make one of the most 
brilliant, one of the most dramatic, chap- 
ters in our modern history. 

It was in 1888, two years after Mr. Fors- 
ter's death, that we found ourselves for a 
Sunday at Whittinghame. It was, I think, 
not long before the opening of the Special 
Commission which was to inquire into the 

42 




Copyright, Brown Bros. 



ARTHUR JAMES BALFOUR 



LONDON FRIENDS 

charges brought by the Times against the 
Parnellites and the Land League. Nothing 
struck me more in Mr. Balfour than the 
absence in him of any sort of excitement or 
agitation, in dealing with the current charges 
against the Irishmen. It seemed to me that 
he had quietly accepted the fact that he was 
fighting a revolution, and, while perfectly 
clear as to his own course of action, wasted 
no nervous force on moral reprobation of the 
persons concerned. His business was to 
protect the helpless, to punish crime, and 
to expose the authors of it, whether high or 
low. But he took it as a job to be done- 
difficult unpleasant but all in the way of 
business. The tragic or ' pathetic emotion 
that so many people were ready to spend 
upon it he steadily kept at a distance. His 
nerve struck me as astonishing, and the 
absence of any disabling worry about things 
past. "One can only do one's best at the 
moment," he said to me once, a propos of 
some action of the Irish government which 
had turned out badly "if it doesn't suc- 
ceed, better luck next time! Nothing to be 
gained by going back upon things." After this 
visit to Whittinghame, I wrote to my father: 

I came away more impressed and attracted by 

Arthur Balfour than ever. If intelligence and 

43 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

heart and pure intentions can do anything for 
Ireland, he at least has got them all. Physically 
he seems to have broadened and heightened since 
he took office, and his manner, which was always 
full of charm, is even brighter and kindlier than 
it was or I fancied it. He spoke most warmly 
of Uncle Forster. 

And the interesting and remarkable thing 
was the contrast between an attitude so 
composed and stoical, and his delicate 
physique, his sensitive, sympathetic char- 
acter. All the time, of course, he was in 
constant personal danger. Detectives, much 
to his annoyance, lay in wait for us as we 
walked through his own park, and went with 
him in London wherever he dined. Like 
my uncle, he was impatient of being followed 
and guarded, and only submitted to it for 
the sake of other people. Once, at a dinner- 
party at our house, he met an old friend of 
ours, one of the most original thinkers of 
our day, Mr. Philip Wicksteed, economist^ 
Dante scholar, and Unitarian minister. He 
and Mr. Balfour were evidently attracted to 
each other, and when the time for departure 
came, the two, deep in conversation, instead 
,of taking cabs, walked off together in the 
direction of Mr. Balfour's house in Carlton 
Gardens. The detectives below-stairs re- 
mained for some time blissfully unconscious 

44 



LONDON FRIENDS 

of what had happened. Then word reached 
them; and my husband, standing at the door 
to see a guest off, was the amused spectator 
of the rush in pursuit of two splendid long- 
legged fellows, who had, however, no chance 
whatever of catching up the Chief Secretary. 
Thirty years ago, almost! And during 
that time the name and fame of Arthur Bal- 
four have become an abiding part of English 
history. Nor is there any British states- 
man of our day who has been so much loved 
by his friends, so little hated by his oppo- 
nents, so widely trusted by the nation. 



As to the Special Commission and the 
excitement produced by the Times attack 
on the Irish Members, including the publi- 
cation of the forged Parnell letter in 1887, 
our connection with the Times brought us, of 
course, into the full blast of it. Night after 
night I would sit up, half asleep, to listen to 
the different phases of the story when in the 
early hours of the morning my husband came 
back from the Times, brimful of news, which 
he was as eager to tell as I to hear. My 
husband, however, was only occasionally 
asked to write upon Ireland, and was not in 
the inner counsels of the paper on that sub- 
ject. We were both very anxious about 

45 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

the facsimiled letter, and when, after long 
preliminaries, the Commission came to the 
Times witnesses, I well remember the dis- 
may with which I heard the first day of Mr. 
Macdonald's examination. Was that all? I 
came out of the Court behind Mr. La- 
bouchere and Sir George Lewis, and in Mr. 
Labouchere's exultation one read the coming 
catastrophe. I was on the Riviera when 
Pigott's confession, flight, and suicide held 
the stage; yet even at that distance the 
shock was great. The Times attack was 
fatally discredited, and the influence of the 
great paper temporarily crippled. Yet how 
much of that attack was sound, how much of 
it was abundantly justified!' After all, the 
report of the Commission apart altogether 
from the forged letter or letters certainly 
gave Mr. Balfour in Ireland later on the 
reasoned support of English opinion in his 
hand-to-hand struggle with the Land League 
methods, as the Commission had both re- 
vealed and judged them. After thirty years 
one may well admit that the Irish land 
system had to go, and that the Land League 
was "a sordid revolution," with both the 
crimes and the excuses of a revolution. 
But at the time, British statesmen had to 
organize reform with one hand, and stop 
boycotting and murder with the other; and 

46 



LONDON FRIENDS 

the light thrown by the Commission on the 
methods of Irish disaffection was invalua- 
ble to those who were actually grappling 
day by day with the problems of Irish 
government. 

It was probably at Mrs. Jeune's that I 
first saw Mr. Goschen, and we rapidly made 
friends. His was a great position at that 
time. Independent of both parties, yet 
trusted by both; at once disinterested and 
sympathetic; a strong Liberal in some re- 
spects, an equally strong Conservative in 
others he never spoke without being listened 
to, and his support was eagerly courted both 
by Mr. Gladstone, from whom he had re- 
fused office in 1880, without, however, break- 
ing with the Liberal party, and by the Con- 
servatives, who instinctively felt him their 
property, but were not yet quite clear as to 
how they were to finally capture him. That 
was decided in 1886, when Mr. Goschen 
voted in the majority that killed the Home 
Rule Bill, and more definitely in the following 
year when Randolph Churchill resigned the 
Exchequer in a fit of pique, thinking himself 
indispensable, and not at all expecting Lord 
Salisbury to accept his resignation. But, in 
his own historic phrase, he "forgot Goschen," 
and Mr. Goschen stepped easily into his shoes 
and remained there. 

47 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

I find from an old diary that the Goschens 
dined with us in Russell Square two nights 
before the historic division on the Home 
Rule Bill, and I remember how the talk 
raged and ranged. Mr. Goschen was an 
extremely agreeable talker, and I seem still to 
hear his husky voice, with the curious deep 
notes in it, and to be looking into the large 
but short-sighted and spectacled eyes he re- 
fused the Speakership mainly on the grounds 
of his sight of which the veiled look often 
made what he said the more racy and unex- 
pected. A letter he wrote me in 1886, after 
his defeat at Liverpool, I kept for many years 
as the best short analysis I had ever read of 
the Liberal Unionist position, and the prob- 
able future of the Liberal party. 

Mrs. Goschen was as devoted a wife as 
Mrs. Gladstone or Mrs. Disraeli, and the 
story of the marriage was a romance enor- 
mously to Mr. Goschen's credit. Mr. Go- 
schen must have been a most faithful lover, 
and he certainly was a delightful friend. 
We stayed with them at Seacox, their home 
in Kent, and I remember one rainy afternoon 
there, the greater part of which I spent 
listening to his talk with John Morley, and 
I think Sir Alfred Lyall. It would have 
been difficult to find a trio of men better 
worth an audience. 

48 



LONDON FRIENDS 

Mrs. Goschen, though full of kindness and 
goodness, was not literary, and the house 
was somewhat devoid of books, except in 
Mr. Goschen's study. I remember J. R. G.'s 
laughing fling when Mrs. Goschen com- 
plained that she could not get Pride and 
Prejudice, which he had recommended to her, 
"from the library." "But you could have 
bought it for sixpence at the railway book- 
stall," said J. R. G. Mr. Goschen himself, 
however, was a man of wide cultivation, as 
befitted the grandson of the intelligent Ger- 
man bourgeois who had been the publisher 
of both Schiller and Goethe. His biography 
of his grandfather in those happy days before 
the present life-and-death struggle between 
England and Germany has now a kind of 
symbolic value. It is a study by a man of 
German descent who had become one of the 
most trusted of English statesmen, of that 
earlier German life with its measure, its 
kindness, its idealism on which Germany 
has turned its back. The writing of this 
book was the pleasure of his later years, 
amid the heavy work which was imposed 
upon him as a Free-Trader, in spite of his 
personal friendship for Mr. Chamberlain, by 
the Tariff Reform campaign of 1903 onward; 
and the copy which he gave me reminds me 
of many happy talks with him, and of my 

49 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

own true affection for him. I am thankful 
that he did not live to see 1914. 

Lord Goschen reminds me of Lord Acton, 
another new friend of the 'eighties. Yet 
Lord Acton had been my father's friend and 
editor, in the Home and Foreign Review, long 
before he and I knew each other. Was 
there ever a more interesting or a more 
enigmatic personality than Lord Acton's? 
His letters to Mrs. Drew, addressed, evi- 
dently, in many cases, to Mr. Gladstone, 
through his daughter, have always seemed 
to me one of the most interesting documents 
of our time. Yet I felt sharply, in reading 
them, that the real man was only partially 
there; and in the new series of letters just 
published (October, 1917) much and wel- 
come light is shed upon the problem of 
Lord Acton's mind and character. The 
perpetual attraction for me, as for many 
others, lay in the contrast between Lord 
Acton's Catholicism and the universalism 
of his learning; and, again, between what 
his death revealed of the fervor and sim- 
plicity of his Catholic faith, and the passion 
of his Liberal creed. Oppression tyranny 
persecution those were the things that 
stirred his blood. He was a Catholic, yet 
he fought Ultramontanism and the Papal 
Curia to the end; he never lost his full 

50 



LONDON FRIENDS 

communion with the Church of Rome, yet 
he could never forgive the Papacy for the 
things it had done, and suffered to be done; 
and he would have nothing to do with the 
excuse that the moral standards of one age 
are different from those of another, and 
therefore the crimes of a Borgia weigh more 
lightly and claim more indulgence than sim- 
ilar acts done in the nineteenth century. 

There is one moral standard for all Christians 
there has never been more than one [he would 
say, inexorably]. The Commandments and the 
Sermon on the Mount have been always there. 
It was the wickedness of men that ignored them 
in the fifteenth century it is the wickedness of 
men that ignores them now. Tolerate them in 
the past, and you will come to tolerate them in 
the present and future. 

It was in 1885 that Mr. then recently 
made Professor Creighton, showed me at 
Cambridge an extraordinarily interesting 
summary, in Lord Acton's handwriting, of 
what should be the principles the ethical 
principles of the modern historian in deal- 
ing with the past. They were, I think, 
afterward embodied in an introduction to a 
new edition of Machiavelli. The gist of 
them, however, is given in a letter written to 
Bishop Creighton in 1887, and printed in the 

51 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

biography of the Bishop. Here we find a 
devout Catholic attacking an Anglican writer 
for applying the epithets "tolerant and en- 
lightened" to the later medieval Papacy. 

These men [i. e., the Popes of the thirteenth 
and fourteenth centuries] [he says] instituted a 
system of persecution. . . . The person who 
authorizes the act shares the guilt of the person 
who commits it. ... Now the Liberals think 
persecution a crime of a worse order than 
adultery, and the acts done by Ximenes [through 
the agency of the Spanish Inquisition] consid- 
erably worse than the entertainment of Roman 
courtesans by Alexander Vlth. 

These lines, of course, point to the Acton 
who was the lifelong friend of Dollinger and 
fought, side by side with the Bavarian 
scholar, the promulgation of the dogma of 
Papal Infallibility, at the Vatican Council 
of 1870. But while Dollinger broke with 
the Church, Lord Acton never did. That 
was what made the extraordinary interest 
of conversation with him. Here was a man 
whose denunciation of the crimes and cor- 
ruption of Papal Rome of the historic 
Church, indeed, and the clergy in general 
was far more unsparing than that of the 
average educated Anglican. Yet he died a 
devout member of the Roman Church in 
which he was born; after his death it was 

52 



LONDON FRIENDS 

revealed that he had never felt a serious 
doubt either of Catholic doctrine or of the 
supernatural mission of the Catholic Church; 
and it was to a dearly loved daughter on her 
death-bed that he said, with calm and tender 
faith, "My child, you will soon be with 
Jesus Christ." All his friends, except the 
very few who knew him most intimately, 
must, I think, have been perpetually puzzled 
by this apparent paradox in his life and 
thought. Take the subject of Biblical criti- 
cism. I had many talks with him while I 
was writing Robert Elsmere, and was always 
amazed at his knowledge of what Liddon 
would have called " German infidel" books. 
He had read them all, he possessed them all, 
he knew a great deal about the lives of the 
men who had written them, and he never 
spoke of them, both the books and the 
writers, without complete and, as it seemed 
to me, sympathetic tolerance. I remember, 
after the publication of the dialogue on 
"The New Reformation," in which I tried 
to answer Mr. Gladstone's review of Robert 
Elsmere by giving an outline of the history 
of religious inquiry and Biblical criticism 
from Lessing to Harnack, that I met Lord 
Acton one evening on the platform of 
Bletchley station, while we were both waiting 
for a train. He came up to me with a word 

u. 5 53 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

of congratulation on the article. "I only 
wish/' I said, "I had been able to consult 
you more about it." "No, no," he said. 
"Votre siege est faite! But I think you 
should have given more weight to so-and-so, 
and you have omitted so-and-so." Where- 
upon we walked up and down in the dusk, 
and he poured out that learning of his, in 
that way he had so courteous, modest, 
thought-provoking which made one both 
wonder at and love him. 

As to his generosity and kindness toward 
younger students, it was endless. I asked 
him once, when I was writing for Macmillan, 
to give me some suggestions for an article 
on Chateaubriand. The letter I received 
from him the following morning is a marvel 
of knowledge, bibliography, and kindness. 
And not only did he give me such a "scheme" 
of reading as would have taken any ordinary 
person months to get through, but he ar- 
rived the following day in a hansom, with a 
number of the books he had named, and for 
a long time they lived on my shelves. Alack! 
I never wrote the article, but when I came 
to the writing of Eleanor, for which certain 
material was drawn from the life of Chateau- 
briand, his advice helped me. And I don't 
think he would have thought it thrown 
away. He never despised novels! 

54 



LONDON FRIENDS 

Once on a visit to us at Stocks, there 
were nine books of different sorts in his room 
which I had chosen and placed there. By 
Monday morning he had read them all. His 
library, when he died, contained about 
60,000 volumes all read; and it will be 
remembered that Lord Morley, to whom 
Mr. Carnegie gave it, has handed it on to 
the University of Cambridge. 

In 1884, when I first knew him, however, 
Lord Acton was every bit as keen a politician 
as he was a scholar. As is well known, he 
was a poor speaker, and never made any 
success in Parliament; and this was always, 
it seemed to me, the drop of gall in his 
otherwise happy and distinguished lot. But 
if he was never in an English Cabinet, his 
influence over Mr. Gladstone through the 
whole of the Home Rule struggle gave him 
very real political power. He and Mr. 
Morley were the constant friends and asso- 
ciates to whom Mr. Gladstone turned through 
all that critical time. But the great split was 
rushing on, and it was also in 1884 that, at 
Admiral Maxse's one night at dinner, I 
first saw Mr. Chamberlain, who was to 
play so great a part in the following years. 
It was a memorable evening to me, for 
the other guest in a small party was M. 
Cle"menceau. 

55 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

M. Cle*menceau was then at the height of 
his power as the maker and unmaker of 
French Ministries. It was he more than any 
other single man who had checkmated the 
Royalist reaction of 1877 and driven Mac- 
Mahon from power; and in the year after 
we first met him he was to bring Jules 
Ferry to grief over U affaire de Tongkin. 
He was then in the prime of life, and he is 
still (1917), thirty-three 'years later, 1 one of 
the most vigorous of French political in- 
fluences. Mr. Chamberlain, in 1884, was 
forty-eight, five years older than the French 
politician, and was at that time, of course, 
the leader of the Radicals, as distinguished 
from the old Liberals, both in the House of 
Commons and Mr. Gladstone's Cabinet. 

How many great events, in which those 
two men were to be concerned, were still 
in the " abysm of time," as we sat listening 
to them at Admiral Maxse's dinner-table! 
Cle*menceau, the younger, and the more fiery 
and fluent; Chamberlain, with no graces of 
conversation, and much less ready than the 
man he was talking with, but producing 
already the impression of a power, certain 
to leave its mark, if the man lived, on 

1 These lines were written shortly before, on the overthrow 
of M. Panleve, M. Clemenceau, at the age of seventy-seven, 
became Prime Minister of France, at what may well be the 
deciding moment of French destiny (January, 1918). 

56 



English history. In a letter to my father 
after the dinner-party, I described the in- 
terest we had both felt in M. Clemenceau. 
"Yet he seems to me a light weight to ride 
such a horse as the French democracy!" 

In the following year, 1885, I remember a 
long conversation on the Gordon catastrophe 
with Mr. Chamberlain at Lady Jeune's. It 
was evident, I thought, that his mind was 
greatly exercised by the whole story of that 
disastrous event. He went through it from 
step to step, ending up deliberately, but 
with a sigh, "I have never been able to see, 
from day to day, and I do not see now, how 
the Ministry could have taken any other 
course than that they did take." 

Yet the recently published biography of 
Sir Charles Dilke shows clearly how very 
critical Mr. Chamberlain had already become 
of his great leader, Mr. Gladstone, and how 
many causes were already preparing the rup- 
ture of 1886. 



I first met Mr. Browning in 1884 or 1885, 
if I remember right, at a Kensington dinner- 
party, where he took me down. A man who 
talked loud and much was discoursing on the 
other side of the table; and a spirit of oppo- 
sition had clearly entered into Mr. Browning. 

57 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

V 

A propos of some recent acting in London 
we began to talk of Moliere, and presently, 
as though to shut out the stream of words 
opposite, which was damping conversation^] 
the old poet how the splendjd brow and the 
white hair come back to meQ-fell to quoting 
from the famous sonnet scene in "Le Misan- 
thrope": j first of all, Alceste's rage with 
Phillinte's flattery of the wretched verses de- 
claimed by Oronte "Morbleu! ml complai- 
sant) vous louez des sottises"; then the ad- 
mirable fencing between Oronte and Alceste, 
where Alceste at first tries to convey his 
contempt for Oronte's sonnet indirectly, and 
then bursts out: 

"Ce n'est que jeu de mots, qu' affectation pure, ~ 
Et ce n'est point ainsi que parle la nature!" 

breaking immediately into the vieille chanson, 
one line of which is worth all the affected 
stuff that Celimene and her circle admire?! 

Browning repeated the French in an under- 
tone, kindling as he went, I urging him on, 
our two heads close together. Every now 
and then he would look up to see if the 
plague outside was done, and, finding it still 
went on, would plunge again into the seclu- 
sion of our tete-a-tete; till the chanson itself 
"Si le roi m'avoit donne Paris, sa grand' 
ville" had been said, to his delight and mine. 

58 



LONDON FRIENDS 

The recitation lasted through several 
courses, and our hostess once or twice threw 
uneasy glances toward us, for Browning 
was the "lion" of the evening. But, once 
launched, he was not to be stopped; and as 
for me, I shall always remember that I 
heard Browning spontaneously, without a 
moment's pause to remember or prepare 
recite the whole, or almost the whole, of one 
of the immortal things in literature. 

He was then seventy-two or seventy- 
three. He came to see us once or twice in 
Russell Square, but, alack! we arrived too 
late in the London world to know him well. 
His health began to fail just about the time 
when we first met, and early in 1889 he died 
in the Palazzo Rezzonico. 

He did not like Robert Elsmere, which ap- 
peared the year before his death; and I was 
told a striking story by a common friend of 
his and mine, who was present at a discussion 
of the book at a literary house. Browning, 
said my friend, was of the party. The dis- 
cussion turned on the divinity of Christ. 
After listening awhile, Browning repeated, 
with some passion, the anecdote of Charles 
Lamb in conversation with Leigh Hunt, on 
the subject of "Persons one would wish to 
have seen"; when, after ranging through 
literature and philosophy, Lamb added: 

59 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

"But without mentioning a name that once 
put on a semblance of mortality . . . there 
is only one other Person. If Shakespeare 
was to come into the room, we should rise 
up to meet him; but if that Person was to 
come into it, we should fall down and try 
to kiss the hem of His garment." 

Some fourteen years after his death I 
seemed to be brought very near in spirit to 
this great man, and so far as a large portion 
of his work is concerned great poet. We 
were in Venice. I was writing the Marriage 
of William Ashe, and, being in want of a 
Venetian setting for some of the scenes, I 
asked Mr. Pen Browning, who was, I think, 
at Asolo, if he would allow me access to the 
Palazzo Rezzonico, which was then unin- 
habited. He kindly gave me free leave to 
wander about it as I liked; and I went most 
days to sit and write in one of the rooms of 
the mezzanin. But when all chance of a 
tourist had gone, and the palace was shut, 
I used to walk all about it in the rich May 
light, finding it a little creepy! but endlessly 
attractive and interesting. There was a bust 
of Mr. Browning, with an inscription, in 
one of the rooms, and the place was haunted 
for me by his great ghost. It was there he 
had come to die, in the palace which he had 
given to his only son, whom he adorecl, 



LONDON FRIENDS 

The concierge pointed out to me what he 
believed to be the room in which he passed 
away. There was very little furniture in it. 
Everything was chill and deserted. I did 
not want to think of him there. I liked to 
imagine him strolling in the stately hall of the 
palace with its vast chandelier, its pillared 
sides and Tiepolo ceiling, breathing in the 
Italian spirit which through such long years 
had passed into his, and delighting, as a poet 
delights not vulgarly, but with something 
of a child's adventurous pleasure in the mel- 
low magnificence of the beautiful old place. 



Mr. Lowell is another memory of these 
early London days. My first sight of him 
was at Mr. and Mrs. Westlake's house in 
a temper! For some one had imprudently 
talked of "Yankeeisms," perhaps with some 
" superior" intonation. And Mr. Lowell 
the Lowell of A Certain Condescension in 
Foreigners had flashed out: "It's you Eng- 
lish who don't know your own language and 
your own literary history. Otherwise you 
would realize that most of what you call 
'Yankeeisms' are merely good old English 
which you have thrown away." 

Afterward, I find records of talks with him 
at Russell Square, then of Mrs. Lowell's 

61 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

death in 1885, and finally of dining with him 
in the spring of 1887, just before his return 
to America. At that dinner was also the 
German Ambassador, Count Hatzfeldt, a 
handsome man, with a powerful, rather som- 
ber face. I remember some talk with him 
after dinner on current books and politics. 
Just thirty years ago! Mr. Lowell had then 
only four years to live. He and all other 
diplomats had just passed through an anxious 
spring. The scare of another Franco-Ger- 
man war had been playing on the nerves of 
Europe, started by the military party in 
Germany, merely to insure the passing of 
the famous Army law of that year the first 
landmark in that huge military expansion of 
which we see the natural fruit in the present 
Armageddon. 

A week or two before this dinner the Ger- 
man elections had given the Conservatives 
an enormous victory. Germany, indeed, 
was in the full passion of economic and 
military development all her people grow- 
ing rich intoxicated, besides, with vague 
dreams of coming power. Yet I have still 
before me the absent, indecipherable look of 
her Ambassador a man clearly of high in- 
telligence at Mr. Lowell's table. Thirty 
years and at the end of them America was 
to be at grips with Germany, sending armies 

62 



LONDON FRIENDS 

across the Atlantic to fight in Europe. It 
would have been as impossible for any of 
us, on that May evening in Lowndes Square, 
even to imagine such a future, as it was for 
Macbeth to credit the absurdity that Birnam 
wood would ever come to Dunsinane! 

A year later Mr. Lowell came back to 
London for a time in a private capacity, and 
I got to know him better and to like him 
much. . . . Here is a characteristic touch in 
a note I find among the old letters: 

I am glad you found something to like in my 
book and much obliged to you for saying so. 
Nobody but Wordsworth ever got beyond need 
of sympathy, and he started there! 



CHAPTER III 

THE PUBLICATION OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

IT was in 1885, after the completion of the 
* Amiel translation, that I began Robert 
Elsmere, drawing the opening scenes from 
that expedition to Long Sleddale in the spring 
of that year which I have already men- 
tioned. The book took me three years, 
nearly, to write. Again and again I found 
myself dreaming that the end was near and 
publication only a month or two away, only 
to sink back on the dismal conviction that 
the second, or the first, or the third volume 
or some portion of each must be re- 
written, if I was to satisfy myself at all. 
I actually wrote the last words of the last 
chapter in March, 1887, and came out after- 
ward, from my tiny writing-room at the end 
of the drawing-room, shaken with tears, and 
wondering, as I sat alone on the floor, by 
the fire, in the front room, what life would 
be like, now that the book was done! But 
it was nearly a year after that before it came 
out, a year of incessant hard work, of endless 
rewriting, and much nervous exhaustion. 
For all the work was saddened and made dif- 

64 



THE PUBLICATION OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

ficult by the fact that my mother's long ill- 
ness was nearing its end and that I was torn 
incessantly between the claim of the book 
and the desire to be with her whenever I 
could possibly be spared from my home and 
children. Whenever there was a temporary 
improvement in her state, I would go down 
to Borough alone to work feverishly at re- 
vision, only to be drawn back to her side 
before long by worse news. And all the 
time London life went on as usual, and the 
strain at times was great. 

The difficulty of finishing the book arose 
first of all from its length. I well remember 
the depressed countenance of Mr. George 
Smith who was to be to me through four- 
teen years afterward the kindest of pub- 
lishers and friends when I called one day in 
Waterloo Place, bearing a basketful of type- 
written sheets. "I am afraid you have 
brought us a perfectly unmanageable book!" 
he said; and I could only mournfully agree 
that so it was. It was far too long, and my 
heart sank at the thought of all there was 
still to do. But how patient Mr. Smith was 
over it! and how generous in the matter of 
unlimited fresh proofs and endless correc- 
tions. I am certain that he had no belief in 
the book's success; and yet, on the ground of 
his interest in Miss Bretherton he had made 

65 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

liberal terms with me, and all through the 
long incubation he was always indulgent and 
sympathetic. 

The root difficulty was of course the deal- 
ing with such a subject in a novel at all. 
Yet I was determined to deal with it so, 
in order to reach the public. There were 
great precedents Froude's Nemesis of Faith, 
Newman's Loss and Gain, Kingsley's Alton 
Locke for the novel of religious or social 
propaganda. And it seemed to me that the 
novel was capable of holding and shaping 
real experience of any kind, as it affects the 
lives of men and women. It is the most 
elastic, the most adaptable of forms. No 
one has a right to set limits to its range. 
There is only one final test. Does it interest? 
does it appeal? Personally, I should add 
another. Does it make in the long run for 
beauty? Beauty taken in the largest and 
most generous sense, and especially as in- 
cluding discord, the harsh and jangled notes 
which enrich the rest but still Beauty 
as Tolstoy was a master of it? 

But at any rate, no one will deny that 
interest is the crucial matter. 

There are five and twenty ways 

Of constructing tribal lays 

And every single one of them is right | 

66 



THE PUBLICATION OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

always supposing that the way chosen quick- 
ens the breath and stirs the heart of those 
who listen. But when the subject chosen 
has two aspects, the one intellectual and 
logical, the other poetic and emotional, the 
difficulty of holding the balance between 
them, so that neither overpowers the other, 
and interest is maintained, is admittedly 
great. 

I wanted to show how a man of sensitive 
and noble character, born for religion, comes 
to throw off the orthodoxies of his day and 
moment, and to go out into the wilderness 
where all is experiment, and spiritual life 
begins again. And with him I wished to 
contrast a type no less fine of the traditional 
and guided mind, and to imagine the clash 
of two such tendencies of thought as it 
might affect all practical life, and especially 
the life of two people who loved each other. 

Here then, to begin with, were Robert and 
Catharine. Yes, but Robert must be made 
intellectually intelligible. Closely looked at, 
all novel-writing is a sort of shorthand. 
Even the most simple and broadly human 
situation cannot really be told in full. Each 
reader in following it unconsciously supplies 
a vast amount himself. A great deal of the 
effect is owing to things quite out of the 
picture given things in the reader's own 

67 



mind, first and foremost. The writer is 
playing on common experience; and mere 
suggestion is often far more effective than 
analysis. Take the paragraph in Turgue- 
nieff's Lisa it was pointed out to me by 
Henry James where Lavretsky on the point 
of marriage, after much suffering, with the 
innocent and noble girl whom he adores, sud- 
denly hears that his intolerable first wife, 
whom he had long believed dead, is alive. 
Turgue"nieff, instead of setting out the situa- 
tion in detail, throws himself on the reader: 
"It was dark. Lavretsky went into the gar- 
den, and walked up and down there till 
dawn." 

That is all. And it is enough. The 
reader who is not capable of sharing that 
night walk with Lavretsky, and entering into 
his thoughts, has read the novel to no pur- 
pose. He would not understand, though 
Lavretsky or his creator were to spend pages 
on explaining. 

But in my case, what provoked the human 
and emotional crisis what produced the 
story was an intellectual process. Now the 
difficulty here in using suggestion which is 
the master tool of the novelist is much 
greater than in the case of ordinary experi- 
ence. For the conscious use of the intellect 
on the accumulated data of life, through his- 

68 



THE PUBLICATION OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

tory and philosophy, is not ordinary experi- 
ence. In its more advanced forms, it only 
applies to a small minority of the human 
race. 

Still, in every generation, while a minority 
is making or taking part in the intellectual 
process itself, there is an atmosphere, a dif- 
fusion, produced around them, which affects 
many thousands who have but little share 
but little conscious share, at any rate in the 
actual process. 

Here, then, is the opening for suggestion 
in connection with the various forms of 
imagination which enter into Literature; 
with poetry, and fiction, which, as Goethe 
saw, is really a form of poetry. And a quite 
legitimate opening. For to use it is to 
quicken the intellectual process itself, and 
to induce a larger number of minds to take 
part in it. 

The problem, then, in intellectual poetry 
or fiction, is so to suggest the argument, 
that both the expert and the popular con- 
sciousness may feel its force, and to do this 
without overstepping the bounds of poetry 
or fiction; without turning either into mere 
ratiocination, and so losing the " simple, 
sensuous, passionate" element which is their 
true life. 

It was this problem which made Robert 

n. 6 69 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

Elsmere take three years to write, instead 
of one. Mr. Gladstone complained, in his 
famous review of it, that a majestic system 
which had taken centuries to elaborate, and 
gathered into itself the wisest brains of the 
ages, had gone down in a few weeks or 
months before the onslaught of the Squire's 
arguments; and that if the Squire's argu- 
ments were few, the orthodox arguments 
were fewer! The answer to the first part 
of the charge is that the well-taught school- 
boy of to-day is necessarily wiser in a hun- 
dred respects than Sophocles or Plato, since 
he represents not himself, but the brainwork 
of a hundred generations since those great 
men lived. And as to the second, if Mr. 
Gladstone had seen the first redactions of the 
book only if he had, I fear he would never 
have read it! he would hardly have com- 
plained of lack of argument on either side, 
whatever he might have thought of its 
quality. Again and again I went on writing 
for hours, satisfying the logical sense in one- 
self, trying to put the arguments on both 
sides as fairly as possible, only to feel despair- 
ingly at the end that it must all come out. 
It might be decent controversy; but life, 
feeling, charm, humanity, had gone out of it 5 
it had ceased, therefore, to be "making," to 
be literature. 

70 



So that in the long run there was no other 
method possible than suggestion and, of 
course, selection! as with all the rest of one's 
material. That being understood, what one 
had to aim at was so to use suggestion as to 
touch the two zones of thought that of the 
scholar and that of what one may call the 
educated populace; who, without being 
scholars, were yet aware, more or less clearly, 
of what the scholars were doing. It is from 
these last that " atmosphere" and " diffu- 
sion" come; the atmosphere and diffusion 
which alone make wide penetration for a 
book illustrating an intellectual motive pos- 
sible. I had to learn that, having read a 
great deal, I must as far as possible wipe 
out the traces of reading. All that could be 
done was to leave a few sign-posts as firmly 
planted as one could, so as to recall the real 
journey to those who already knew it, and, 
for the rest, to trust to the floating interest 
and passion surrounding a great controversy 
the second religious battle of the nineteenth 
century with which it had seemed to me, 
both in Oxford and in London, that the in- 
tellectual air was charged. 

I grew very weary in the course of the long 
effort, and often very despairing. But there 
were omens of hope now and then; first, a 
letter from my dear eldest brother, the late 

71 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

W. T. Arnold, who died in 1904, leaving 
a record as journalist and scholar which has 
been admirably told by his intimate friend 
and colleague, Mr. (now Captain) C. E. 
Montague. He and I had shared many in- 
tellectual interests connected with the history 
of the Empire. His monograph on Roman 
Provincial Administration, first written as an 
Arnold Essay, still holds the field; and in the 
realm of pure literature his one-volume edi- 
tion of Keats is there to show his eagerness 
for beauty and his love of English verse. I 
sent him the first volume in proof, about a 
year before the book came out, and awaited 
his verdict with much anxiety. It came one 
May day in 1889. I happened to be very 
tired and depressed at the moment, and I 
remember sitting alone for a little while with 
the letter in my hand, without courage to 
open it. Then at last I opened it. 

Warm congratulation Admirable! Full of 
character and color. . . . Miss Bretherton was 
an intellectual exercise. This is quite a differ- 
ent affair, and has interested and touched me 
deeply, as I feel sure it will all the world. The 
biggest thing that with a few other things of 
the same kind has been done for years. 

Well! that was enough to go on with, to 
carry me through the last wrestle with proofs 

72 



THE PUBLICATION OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

and revision. But by the following Novem- 
ber nervous fatigue made me put work aside 
for a few weeks, and we went abroad for rest, 
only to be abruptly summoned home by my 
mother's state. Thenceforward I lived a 
double life the one overshadowed by my 
mother's approaching death, the other amid 
the agitation of the book's appearance and 
all the incidents of its rapid success. 

I have already told the story in the Intro- 
duction to the Library Edition of Robert 
Elsmere, and I will only run through it here 
as rapidly as possible, with a few fresh in- 
cidents and quotations. There was never 
any doubt at all of the book's fate, and I 
may repeat again that, before Mr. Glad- 
stone's review of it, the three volumes were 
already in a third edition, the rush at all the 
libraries was in full course, and Matthew 
Arnold so gay and kind, in those March 
weeks before his own sudden death! had 
clearly foreseen the rising boom. "I shall 
take it with me to Bristol next week and get 
through it there, I hope [but he didn't 
achieve it!]. It is one of my regrets not to 
have known the Green of your dedication/' 
And a week or two later he wrote an amusing 
letter to his sister, describing a country-house 
party at beautiful Wilton, Lord Pembroke's 
home near Salisbury, and the various stages 

73 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

in the book reached by the members of the 
party, including Mr. Goschen, who were all 
reading it, and all talking of it. I never, 
however, had any criticism of it from him, 
except of the first volume, which he liked. 
I doubt very much whether the second and 
third volumes would have appealed to him. 
My uncle was a Modernist long before the 
time. In Literature and Dogma he threw out 
in detail much of the argument suggested in 
Robert Elsmere, but to the end of his life 
he was a contented member of the Anglican 
Church, so far as attendance at her services 
was concerned, and belief in her mission of 
"edification " to the English people. He had 
little sympathy with people who "went out." 
Like Mr. Jowett, he would have liked to see 
the Church slowly reformed and "modern- 
ized" from within. So that with the main 
theme of my book that a priest who doubts 
must depart he could never have had full 
sympathy. And in the course of years as 
I showed in a later novel written twenty- 
four years after Robert Elsmere I feel that I 
have very much come to agree with him! 
These great national structures that we 
call churches are too precious for iconoclast 
handling, if any other method is possible. 
The strong assertion of individual liberty 
within them, as opposed to the attempt to 

74 



THE PUBLICATION OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

break them down from without; that seems 
to me now the hopeful course. A few more 
heresy trials like those which sprang out of 
Essays and Reviews, or the persecution of 
Bishop Colenso, would let in fresh life and 
healing nowadays, as did those old stirrings 
of the waters. The first Modernist bishop 
who stays in his place forms a Modernist 
chapter and diocese around him, and fights 
the fight where he stands, will do more for 
liberty and faith in the Church, I now sadly 
believe, than those scores of brave " forgotten 
dead" who have gone out of her for con- 
science' sake, all these years. 

But to return to the book. All through 
March the tide of success was rapidly rising; 
and when I was able to think of it I was 
naturally carried away by the excitement 
and astonishment of it. But with the later 
days of March a veil dropped between me 
and the book. My mother's suffering and 
storm-beaten life was coming rapidly to its 
close, and I could think of nothing else. In 
an interval of slight improvement, indeed, 
when it seemed as though she might rally 
for a time, I heard Mr. Gladstone's name 
quoted for the first time in connection with 
the book. It will be remembered that he was 
then out of office, having been overthrown 
on the Home Rule Question in 1886, and he 

75 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

happened to be staying for an Easter visit 
with the Warden of Keble, and Mrs. Talbot, 
who was his niece by marriage. I was with 
my mother, about a mile away, and Mrs. 
Talbot, who came to ask for news of her, 
reported to me that Mr. Gladstone was deep 
in the book. He was reading it, pencil in 
hand, marking all the passages he disliked 
or quarreled with, with the Italian "Ma!"- 
and those he approved of with mysterious 
signs which she who followed him through 
the volumes could not always decipher. 
Mr. Knowles, she reported, the busy editor 
of the Nineteenth Century, was trying to per- 
suade the great man to review it. But 
"Mr. G." had not made up his mind. 

Then all was shut out again. Through 
many days my mother asked constantly for 
news of the book, and smiled with a flicker 
of her old brightness when anything pleased 
her in a letter or review. But finally there 
came long hours when to think or speak of it 
seemed sacrilege. And on April 7th she died. 



The day after her death I saw Mr. Glad- 
stone at Keble. We talked for a couple of 
hours, and then when I rose to go he asked 
if I would come again on the following morn- 
ing before he went back to town. I had been 

76 



THE PUBLICATION OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

deeply interested and touched, and I went 
again for another long visit. My account, 
written down at the time, of the first day's 
talk, has been printed as an appendix to the 
Library Edition of the book. Of the second 
conversation, which was the more interesting 
of the two since we came to much closer 
quarters in it, my only record is the following 
letter to my husband: 

I have certainly had a wonderful experience 
last night and this morning! Last night two 
hours' talk with Gladstone, this morning, again 
an hour and a half's strenuous argument, during 
which the great man got quite white sometimes 
and tremulous with interest and excitement. 
. . . The talk this morning was a battle royal 
over the book and Christian evidences. He was 
very charming personally, though at times he 
looked stern and angry and white to a degree, 
so that I wondered sometimes how I had the 
courage to go on the drawn brows were so 
formidable! There was one moment when he 
talked of "trumpery objections," in his most 
House of Commons manner. It was as I 
thought. The new lines of criticism are not 
familiar to him, and they really press him hard. 
He meets them out of Bishop Butler, and things 
analogous. But there is a sense, I think, that 
question and answer don't fit, and with it ever- 
increasing interest and sometimes irritation. 

His own autobiographical reminiscences were 

77 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

wonderfully interesting, and his repetition of 
the 42d psalm "Like as the hart desireth the 
water-brooks " grand! 

He said that he had never read any Dook on 
the hostile side written in such a spirit of " gen- 
erous appreciation" of the Christian side. 

Yes, those were hours to which I shall 
always look back with gratitude and emo- 
tion. Wonderful old man! I see him still 
standing, as I took leave of him, one hand 
leaning on the table beside him, his lined, 
pallid face and eagle eyes framed in his 
noble white hair, shining amid the dusk of 
the room. " There are still two things left 
for me to do!" he said, finally, in answer 
to some remark of mine. "One is to carry 
Home Rule; the other is to prove the 
intimate connection between the Hebrew 
and Olympian revelations!" 

Could any remark have been more char- 
acteristic of that double life of his the 
life of the politician and the life of the 
student which kept him fresh and eager to 
the end of his days? Characteristic, too, of 
the amateurish element in all his historical 
and literary thinking. In dealing "with 
early Greek mythology, genealogy, and re- 
ligion," says his old friend, Lord Bryce, 
Mr. Gladstone's theories "have been con- 
demned by the unanimous voice of scholars 

78 



THE PUBLICATION OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

as fantastic." Like his great contemporary, 
Newman on whom a good deal of our con- 
versation turned he had no critical sense of 
evidence; and when he was writing on The 
Impregnable Rock of Scripture Lord Acton, 
who was staying at Hawarden at the time, 
ran after him in vain, with Welhausen or 
Kuenen under his arm, if haply he might 
persuade his host to read them. 

But it was not for that he was born; and 
those who look back to the mighty work he 
did for his country in the forty years preced- 
ing the Home Rule split can only thank the 
Powers "that hold the broad Heaven " for the 
part which the passion of his Christian faith, 
the eagerness of his love for letters for the 
Homer and the Dante he knew by heart- 
played in refreshing and sustaining so great 
a soul. I remember returning, shaken and 
uplifted, through the April air, to the house 
where my mother lay in death; and among 
my old papers lies a torn fragment of a letter 
thirty years old, which I began to write to 
Mr. Gladstone a few days later, and was too 
shy to send. 

This morning [says the letter, written from 
Fox How, on the day of my mother's funeral] 
we laid my dear Mother to rest in her grave 
among the mountains, and this afternoon I am 
free to think a little over what has befallen me 

79 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

personally and separately during this past week. 
It is not that I wish to continue our argument 
quite the contrary. As I walked home from 
Keble on Monday morning, I felt it a hard 
fate that I should have been arguing, rather 
than listening. . . . Argument, perhaps, was 
inevitable, but none the less I felt afterward 
as though there were something incongruous 
and unfitting in it. In a serious discussion it 
seemed to me right to say plainly what I felt 
and believed; but if in doing so I have given 
pain, or expressed myself on any point with a 
too great trenchancy and confidence, please 
believe that I regret it very sincerely. I shall 
always remember our talks. If consciousness 
lasts "beyond these voices" my inmost hope 
as well as yours we shall know of all these 
things. Till then I cherish the belief that we 
are not so far apart as we seem. 

But there the letter abruptly ended, and 
was never sent. I probably shrank from the 
added emotion of sending it, and I found 
it again the other day in a packet that 
had not been looked at for many years. I 
print it now as evidence of the effect that 
Mr. Gladstone's personality could produce 
on one forty years younger than himself, and 
in sharp rebellion at that time against his 
opinions and influence in two main fields 
religion and politics. 



80 



THE PUBLICATION OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

Four days later, Monday, April 16th, my 
husband came into my room with the face 
of one bringing ill tidings. " Matthew Ar- 
nold is dead!" My uncle, as many will re- 
member, had fallen suddenly in a Liverpool 
street while walking with his wife to meet 
his daughter, expected that day from Amer- 
ica, and without a sound or movement had 
passed away. The heart disease which killed 
so many of his family was his fate also. A 
merciful one it always seemed to me, which 
took him thus suddenly and without pain 
from the life in which he had played so 
fruitful and blameless a part. That word 
" blameless" has always seemed to me par- 
ticularly to fit him. And the quality to 
which it points was what made his humor so 
sharp-tipped and so harmless. He had no 
hidden interest to serve no malice not a 
touch, not a trace of cruelty so that men 
allowed him to jest about their most sacred 
idols and superstitions and bore him no 
grudge. 

To me his death at that moment was an 
irreparable personal loss. For it was only 
since our migration to London that we had 
been near enough to him to see much of him. 
My husband and he had become fast friends, 
and his visits to Russell Square, and our ex- 
peditions to Cobham, where he lived, in the 

81 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

pretty cottage beside the Mole, are marked 
in memory with a very white stone. The 
only drawback to the Cobham visits were the 
"dear, dear boys"! i.e., the dachshunds, 
Max and Geist, who, however adorable in 
themselves, had no taste for visitors and no 
intention of letting such intruding creatures 
interfere with their possession of their master. 
One would go down to Cobham, eager to talk 
to " Uncle Matt " about a book or an article 
covetous, at any rate, of some talk with him 
undisturbed. And it would all end in a 
breathless chase after Max, through field 
after field where the little wretch was harry- 
ing either sheep or cows, with the dear poet, 
hoarse with shouting, at his heels. The dogs 
were always in the party, talked to, caressed, 
or scolded exactly like spoiled children; and 
the cat of the house was almost equally dear. 
Once, at Harrow, the then ruling cat a 
torn broke his leg, and the house was in 
lamentation. The vet was called in, and 
hurt him horribly. Then Uncle Matt ran 
up to town, met Professor Huxley at the 
Athenaeum, and anxiously consulted him. 
"I'll go down with you," said Huxley. The 
two traveled back instanter to Harrow, and, 
while Uncle Matt held the cat, Huxley who 
had begun life, let it be remembered, as 
surgeon to the Rattlesnake! examined him. 

82 



THE PUBLICATION OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

the two black heads together. There is a 
rumor that Charles Kingsley was included 
in the consultation. Finally the limb was 
put in splints and left to nature. All went 
well. 

Nobody who knew the modest Cobham 
cottage while its master lived will ever for- 
get it; the garden beside the Mole, where 
every bush and flower-bed had its history; 
and that little study-dressing-room where 
some of the best work in nineteenth-century 
letters was done. Not a great multitude 
of books, but all cherished, all read, each one 
the friend of its owner. No untidiness any- 
where; the ordinary litter of an author's 
room was quite absent. For long after his 
death the room remained just as he had left 
it, his coat hanging behind the door, his 
slippers beside his chair, the last letters he 
had received, and all the small and simple 
equipment of his writing-table ready to his 
hand, waiting for the master who would 
never know "a day of return. " In that 
room during fifteen years, he wrote God 
and the Bible, the many suggestive and 
fruitful Essays, including the American ad- 
dresses, of his later years seeds, almost all 
of them, dropped into the mind of his 
generation for a future harvesting; a certain 
number of poems, including the noble elegiac 

83 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

poem on Arthur Stanley's death, "Geist's 
Grave" and "Poor Matthias"; a mass of 
writing on education which is only now, 
helped by the war, beginning to tell on the 
English mind; and the endlessly kind and 
gracious letters to all sorts and conditions of 
men and women the literary beginner, 
the young teacher wanting advice, even the 
stranger greedy for an autograph. Every 
little playful note to friends or kinsfolk he 
ever wrote was dear to those who received 
it; but he the most fastidious of men 
would have much disliked to see them all 
printed at length in Mr. Russell's indis- 
criminate volumes. He talked to me once 
of his wish to make a small volume "such 
a little one!" of George Sand's best letters. 
And that is just what he would have wished 
for himself. 

Among the letters that reached me on 
my uncle's death was one from Mr. Andrew 
Lang denouncing almost all the obituary 
notices of him. "Nobody seems to know 
that he was a poet!" cries Mr. Lang. But 
his poetic blossoming was really over with 
the 'sixties, and in the hubbub that arose 
round his critical and religious work his 
attempts to drive "ideas" into the English 
mind, in the 'sixties and 'seventies the 
main fact that he, with Browning and 

84 



THE PUBLICATION OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

Tennyson, stood for English poetry, in the 
mid-nineteenth century, was often obscured 
and only slowly recognized. But it was 
recognized, and he himself had never any 
real doubt of it, from the moment when he 
sent the " Strayed Reveller" to my father in 
New Zealand in 1849, to those later times 
when his growing fame was in all men's ears. 
He writes to his sister in 1878: 

It is curious how the public is beginning to 
take my poems to its bosom after long years of 
comparative neglect. The wave of thought and 
change has rolled on until people begin to find a 
significance and an attraction in what had none 
for them formerly. 

But he had put it himself in poetry long 
before this slow emergence above the tu- 
mult and the shouting of the stars that are 
to shine upon the next generation. Mr. 
Garnett, in the careful and learned notice 
of my uncle's life and work in the Dictionary 
of National Biography, says of his poetry that 
"most of it" is "immortal." This, indeed, 
is the great, the mystic word that rings in 
every poet's ear from the beginning. And 
there is scarcely any true poet who is not 
certain that sooner or later his work will 
"put on immortality." Matthew Arnold 
expressed, I think, his own secret faith, in 

n.-7 85 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

the beautiful lines of his early poem, "The 
Bacchanalia or the New Age": 

The epoch ends, the world is still. 
The age has talk'd and work'd its fill 

And hi the after-silence sweet, 

Now strife is hush'd, our ears doth meet, 

Ascending pure, the bell-like fame 

Of this or that down-trodden name, 

Delicate spirits, push'd away 

In the hot press of the noonday. 

And o'er the plain, where the dead age 

Did its now silent warfare wage 

O'er that wide plain, now wrapt in gloom, 

Where many a splendor finds its tomb, 

Many spent fames and fallen nights 

The one or two immortal lights 

Rise slowly up into the sky 

To shine there everlastingly, 

Like stars over the bounding hill. 

The epoch ends, the world is still. 

* 

It was on the way home from Laleham, 
after my uncle's burial there, that Mr. 
George Smith gave me fresh and astonishing 
news of Robert Elsmere's success. The cir- 
culating libraries were being fretted to death 
for copies, and the whirlwind of talk was 
constantly rising. A little later in the same 
month of April, if I remember right, I was 

86 



THE PUBLICATION OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

going from Waterloo to Godalming and 
Borough Farm, when, just as the train was 
starting, a lady rushed along the platform, 
waving a book aloft and signaling to another 
lady who was evidently waiting to see her 
off. "I've got it I've got it!" she said, tri- 
umphantly. "Get in, ma-am get in!" said 
the porter, bundling her into the com- 
partment where I sat alone. Then she hung 
out of the window, breathlessly talking. 
"They told me no chance for weeks not 
the slightest! Then just as I was standing 
at the counter, who should come up but 
somebody bringing back the first volume. 
Of course it was promised to somebody else; 
but as I was there, I laid hands on it, and here 
it is!" The train went off, my companion 
plunged into her book, and I watched her 
as she turned the pages of the familiar green 
volume. We were quite alone. I had half 
a mind to say something revealing; but on 
the whole it was more amusing to sit still! 

And meanwhile letters poured in. 

"I try to write upon you," wrote Mr. 
Gladstone; "wholly despair of satisfying 
myself cannot quite tell whether to perse- 
vere or desist." Mr. Pater let me know 
that he was writing on it for the Guardian. 
"It is a chef d'ceuvre after its kind, and justi- 
fies the care you have devoted to it." "I 

87 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

see," said Andrew Lang, on April 30th, 
"that R. E. is running into as many editions 
as The Rights of Man by Tom Paine. . . . 
You know he is not my sort (at least unless 
you have a ghost, a murder, a duel, and 
some savages)." Burne- Jones wrote, with 
the fun and sweetness that made his letters 
a delight: 

Not one least bitter word in it! threading 
your way through intricacies of parsons so finely 
and justly. ... As each new one came on the 
scene, I wondered if you would fall upon him 
and rend him but you never do. . . . Certainly 
I never thought I should devour a book about 
parsons my desires lying toward "time upon 
once there was a dreadful pirate" but I am 
back again five and thirty years and feeling 
softened and subdued with memories you have 
wakened up so piercingly and I wanted to tell 
you this. 

And in the same packet lie letters from the 
honored and beloved Edward Talbot, now 
Bishop of Winchester, Stopford Brooke 
the Master of Balliol Lord Justice Bowen 
Professor Huxley and so many, many 
more. Best of all, Henry James! His two 
long letters I have already printed, natu- 
rally with his full leave and blessing, in the 
Library Edition of the novel. Not his the 
grudging and faultfinding temper that be- 

88 



THE PUBLICATION OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

sets the lesser man when he comes to write 
of his contemporaries! Full of generous 
honor for what he thought good and honest 
work, however faulty, his praise kindled 
and his blame no less. He appreciated so 
fully your way of doing it; and his sugges- 
tion, alongside, of what would have been his 
way of doing it, was so stimulating touched 
one with so light a Socratean sting, and set 
a hundred thoughts on the alert. Of this 
delightful critical art of his his letters to 
myself over many years are one long illus- 
tration. 

And now " There is none like him 
none!" The honeyed lips are silent and the 
helping hand at rest. 

With May appeared Mr. Gladstone's re- 
view "the refined criticism of Robert Els- 
mere" " typical of his strong points," as 
Lord Bryce describes it certainly one of 
the best things he ever wrote. I had no 
sooner read it than, after admiring it, I felt 
it must be answered. But it was desirable 
to take time to think how best to do it. At 
the moment my one desire was for rest and 
escape. At the beginning of June we took 
our eldest two children, aged eleven and 
thirteen, to Switzerland for the first time. 
Oh! the delight of Glion! with its hay-fields 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

thick with miraculous spring flowers, the 
"peak of Jaman delicately tall," and that 
gorgeous pile of the Dent du Midi, bearing 
up the June heaven, to the east! the joy 
of seeing the children's pleasure, and the 
relief of the mere physical rebound in the 
Swiss air, after the long months of strain 
and sorrow! My son, a slip of a person in 
knickerbockers, walked over the Simplon as 
though Alps were only made to be climbed 
by boys of eleven; and the Defile of Gondo, 
Domo d'Ossola, and beautiful Maggiore 
they were all new and heavenly to each mem- 
ber of the party. Every year now there was 
growing on me the spell of Italy, the his- 
toric, the Saturnian land; and short as this 
wandering was, I remember, after it was over, 
and we turned homeward across the St. 
Gothard, leaving Italy behind us, a new 
sense as of a hidden treasure in life of 
something sweet and inexhaustible always 
waiting for one's return; like a child's cake 
in a cupboard, or the gold and silver hoard 
of Odysseus that Athene helped him to hide 
in the Ithacan cave. 



Then one day toward the end of June or 
the beginning of July my husband put down 
beside me a great brown paper package 

90 



THE PUBLICATION OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

which the post had just brought. "There's 
America beginning!" he said, and we turned 
over the contents of the parcel in bewilder- 
ment. A kind American friend had made a 
collection for me of the reviews, sermons, and 
pamphlets that had been published so far 
about the book in the States, the correspond- 
ences, the odds and ends of all kinds, grave 
and gay. Every mail, moreover, began to 
bring me American letters from all parts of 
the States. "No book since Uncle Tom's 
Cabin has had so sudden and wide a diffu- 
sion among all classes of readers," wrote 
an American man of letters, "and I believe 
that no other book of equal seriousness ever 
had so quick a hearing. I have seen it in the 
hands of nursery-maids and of shopgirls 
behind the counters; of frivolous young 
women who read every novel that is talked 
about; of business men, professors, and stu- 
dents. . . . The proprietors of those large 
shops where anything from a pin to a piano 
can be bought, vie with each other in 
selling the cheapest edition. One pirate put 
his price even so low as four cents two 
pence!" (Those, it will be remembered, 
were the days before Anglo-American copy- 
right.) 

Oliver Wendell Holmes, to whom I was 
personally a stranger, wrote to me just such 

91 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

a letter as one might have dreamed of from 
the " Autocrat": "One of my elderly friends 
of long ago called a story of mine you may 
possibly have heard of Elsie Venner 'a 
medicated novel/ and such she said she was 
not in the habit of reading. I liked her 
expression; it titillated more than it tingled. 
Robert Elsmere I suppose we should all agree 
is 'a medicated novel' but it is, I think, 
beyond question, the most effective and 
popular novel we have had since Uncle 
Tom's Cabin." 

A man of science, apparently an agnostic, 
wrote, severely: "I regret the popularity of 
Robert Elsmere in this country. Our Western 
people are like sheep in such matters. They 
will not see that the book was written for a 
people with a State Church on its hands, 
so that a gross exaggeration of the impor- 
tance of religion was necessary. It will re- 
vive interest in theology and retard the 
progress of rationalism." 

Another student and thinker from one of 
the universities of the West, after a brilliant 
criticism of the novel, written about a year 
after its publication, winds up, "The book, 
here, has entered into the evolution of a 
nation." 

Goldwin Smith my father's and uncle's 
early friend wrote me from Canada: 

92 



THE PUBLICATION OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

THE GRANGE, TORONTO, Oct. 31, 1888. 

MY DEAR MRS. WARD, You may be amused 
by seeing what a stir you are making even in 
this sequestered nook of the theological world, 
and by learning that the antidote to you is Ben- 
Hur. I am afraid, if it were so, I should prefer 
the poison to the antidote. 

The state of opinion on this Continent is, I 
fancy, pretty much that to which Robert Elsmere 
would bring us Theism, with Christ as a model 
of character, but without real belief hi the 
miraculous part of Christianity. Churches are 
still being everywhere built, money is freely 
subscribed, young men are pressing into the 
clerical profession, and religion shows every sign 
of vitality. I cannot help suspecting, however, 
that a ehange is not far off. If it comes, it will 
come with a vengeance; for over the intellectual 
dead level of this democracy opinion courses like 
the tide running in over a flat. 

As the end of life draws near I feel like the 
Scotchman who, being on his death-bed when 
the trial of O'Connell was going on, desired his 
Minister to pray for him that he might just 
live to see what came of O'Connell. A wonder- 
ful period of transition in all things, however, 
has begun, and I should like very much to see 
the result. However, it is too likely that very 
rough times may be coming and that one will be 
just as well out of the way. 



Yours most truly, GOLDWIN SMITH, 
93 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

Exactly twenty years from the date of 
this letter I was in Toronto for the first time, 
and paid my homage to the veteran fighter 
who, living as he did amid a younger gen- 
eration, hotly resenting his separatist and 
anti-Imperial views and his contempt for 
their own ideal of an equal and permanent 
union of free states under the British flag, 
was yet generously honored throughout the 
Dominion for his services to literature and 
education. He had been my father's friend 
at Oxford where he succeeded to Arthur 
Stanley's tutorship at University College 
and in Dublin. And when I first began to 
live in Oxford he was still Regius Professor, 
inhabiting a house very near that of my 
parents, which was well known to me after- 
ward through many years as the house of 
the Max Miillers. I can remember the catas- 
trophe it seemed to all his Oxford friends 
when he deserted England for America, de- 
spairing of the republic, as my father for a 
while in his youth had despaired, and sick 
of what seemed to him the forces of reaction 
in English life. I was eighteen when En^ 
dymion came out, with Dizzy's absurd attack 
on the " sedentary" professor who was also 
a "social parasite." It would be difficult to 
find two words in the English language more 
wholly and ludicrously inappropriate to Gold- 

94 



THE PUBLICATION OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

win Smith; and the furious letter to the 
Times in which he denounced "the stingless 
insults of a coward" might well have been 
left unwritten. But I was living then among 
Oxford Liberals, and under the shadow of 
Gold win Smith's great reputation as historian 
and pamphleteer, and I can see myself 
listening with an angry and sympathetic 
thrill to my father as he read the letter 
aloud. Then came the intervening years, 
in which one learned to look on Goldwin 
Smith as par excellence the great man "gone 
wrong," on that vital question, above all, 
of a sane Imperialism. It was difficult, after 
a time, to keep patience with the English- 
man whose most passionate desire seemed to 
be to break up the Empire, to incorporate 
Canada in the United States, to relieve us 
of India, that "splendid curse," to detach 
from us Australia and South Africa, and 
thereby to wreck forever that vision of 
a banded commonwealth of free nations 
which for innumerable minds at home 
was fast becoming the romance of English 
politics. 

So it was that I went with some shrinking, 
yet still under the glamour of the old Oxford 
loyalty, to pay my visit at the Grange in 
1908, walking thither from the house of one 
of the stanchest Imperialists in Canada, 

95 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

where I had been lunching. "You are going 
to see Mr. Goldwin Smith?" my host had 
said. "I have not crossed his threshold for 
twenty years. I abhor his political views. 
All the same, we are proud of him in 
Canada!" When I entered the drawing- 
room, which was rather dark, though it was 
a late May afternoon, there rose slowly from 
its chair beside a bright fire a figure I shall 
never forget. I had a fairly clear remem- 
brance of Goldwin Smith in his earlier says. 
This was like his phantom, or, if one may 
say so, without disrespect his mummy. 
Shriveled and spare, yet erect as ever, the 
iron-gray hair, closely shaven beard, dark 
complexion, and black eyes still formidably 
alive, made on me an impression at once of 
extreme age and unabated will. A prophet! 
still delivering his message but well aware 
that it found but few listeners in a degener- 
ate world. He began immediately to talk 
politics, denouncing English Imperialism, 
whether of the Tory or the Liberal type. 
Canadian loyalty to the Empire was a mere 
delusion. A few years, he said, would see 
the Dominion merged in the United States; 
and it was far best it should be so. He 
spoke with a bitter, almost a fierce energy, 
as though perfectly conscious that, although 
I did not contradict him, I did not agree 

96 




GOLDWIN SMITH 



THE PUBLICATION OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

with him; and presently, to my great relief, 
he allowed the talk to slip back to old 
Oxford days. 

Two years later he died, still confident of 
the future as he dreamt it. The "very 
rough times" that he foresaw have indeed 
come upon the world. But as to the rest, I 
wish he could have stood with me, eight 
years after this conversation, on the Scher- 
penberg Hill, held by a Canadian division, 
the approach to its summit guarded by 
Canadian sentries, and have looked out over 
that plain, where Canadian and British 
graves, lying in their thousands side by side, 
have forever sealed in blood the union of the 
elder and the younger nations. 

As to the circulation of Robert Elsmere, I 
have never been able to ascertain the exact 
figures in America, but it is probable, from 
the data I have, that about half a million 
copies were sold in the States within a year 
of the book's publication. Iri England, an 
edition of 5,000 copies a fortnight was the 
rule for many months after the one-volume 
edition appeared; hundreds of thousands 
have been circulated in the sixpenny and 
sevenpenny editions; it has been translated 
into most foreign tongues; and it is still, 
after thirty years, a living book. Fifteen 
years after its publication, M. Brunetiere, 

97 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

the well-known editor of the Revue des deux 
Mondes and leader in some sort of the 
Catholic reaction in France, began a negotia- 
tion with me for the appearance of a French 
translation of the whole or part of the book 
in his Revue. "But how/' I asked him (we 
were sitting in his editor's sanctum, in the 
old house of the Rue de FUniversite), 
"could it possibly suit you, or the Revue, 
to do anything of the kind? And now 
after fifteen years?" 

But, according to him, the case was sim- 
ple. When the book first appeared, the 
public of the Revue could not have felt any 
interest in it. France is a logical country 
a country of clear-cut solutions. And at 
that time either one was a Catholic or a free 
thinker. And if one was a Catholic, one 
accepted from the Church, say, the date of 
the Book of Daniel, as well as everything 
else. Renan, indeed, left the Church thirty 
years earlier because he came to see with 
certainty that the Book of Daniel was 
written under Antiochus Epiphanes, and not 
when his teachers at St. Sulpice said it was 
written. But while the secular world lis- 
tened and applauded, the literary argument 
against dogma made very little impression 
on the general Catholic world for many 
years, 



THE PUBLICATION OP ROBERT ELSMERE 

But now [said M. Brunetiere] everything is 
different. Modernism has arisen. It is pene- 
trating the Seminaries. People begin to talk 
of it in the streets. And Robert Elsmere is a 
study in Modernism or at any rate it has so 
many affinities with Modernism, that now the 
French public would be interested. 

The length of the book, however, could not 
be got over, and the plan fell through. But 
I came away from my talk with a remarkable 
man, not a little stirred. For it had seemed 
to show that with all its many faults 
and who knew them better than I? my 
book had yet possessed a certain representa- 
tive and pioneering force; and that, to some 
extent, at least, the generation in which it 
appeared had spoken through it. 



CHAPTER IV 

FIRST VISITS TO ITALY 

I HAVE already mentioned in these papers 
* that I was one of the examiners for the 
Spanish Taylorian scholarship at Oxford in 
1883, and again in 1888. But perhaps before 
I go farther in these Recollections I may put 
down here somewhat out of its place a rem- 
iniscence connected with the first of these ex- 
aminations, which seems to me worth record- 
ing. My Spanish colleague in 1883 was, as I 
have said, Don Pascual Gayangos, well known 
among students for his History of Mohamme- 
dan Dynasties in Spain, for his edition of the 
Correspondence of Cardinal Cisneros, and 
other historical work. A propos of the ex- 
amination, he came to see me in Russell 
Square, and his talk about Spain revived in 
me, for the time, a fading passion. Senor 
Gayangos was born in 1809, so that in 1883 
he was already an old man, though full of 
vigor and work. He told me the following 
story. Unfortunately, I took no contem- 
porary note. I give it now as I remember 
it, and if any one who knew Don Pascual, 

or any student of Shakespearian lore, can 

100 



FIRST VISITS TO ITALY 

correct and amplify it, no one will be better 
pleased than I. He said that as quite a 
young man, somewhere in the thirties of the 
last century, he was traveling through Spain 
to England, where, if I remember right, he 
had relations with Sir Thomas Phillipps, the 
ardent book and MSS. collector, so many 
of whose treasures are now in the great 
libraries of Europe. Sir Thomas employed 
him in the search for Spanish MSS. and rare 
Spanish books. I gathered that at the time 
to which the story refers Gayangos himself 
was not much acquainted with English or 
English literature. On his journey north 
from Madrid to Burgos, which was, of course, 
in the days before railways, he stopped at 
Valladolid for the night, and went to see an 
acquaintance of his, the newly appointed 
librarian of an aristocratic family having a 
" palace" in Valladolid. He found his friend 
in the old library of the old house, engaged 
in a work of destruction. On the floor of 
the long room was a large brasero in which 
the new librarian was burning up a quantity 
of what he described as useless and miscel- 
laneous books, with a view to the rearrange- 
ment of the library. The old sheepskin or 
vellum bindings had been stripped off, while 
the printed matter was burning steadily 
and the room was full of smoke. There was 

U.-8 101 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

a pile of old books whose turn had not yet 
come lying on the floor. Gayangos picked 
one up. It was a volume containing the 
plays of Mr. William Shakespeare, and pub- 
lished in 1623. In other words, it was a copy 
of the First Folio, and, as he declared to 
me, in excellent preservation. At that time 
he knew nothing about Shakespeare bibli- 
ography. He was struck, however, by the 
name of Shakespeare, and also by the fact 
that, according to an inscription inside it, 
the book had belonged to Count Gondomar, 
who had himself lived in Valladolid and 
collected a large library there. But his 
friend the librarian attached no importance 
to the book, and it was to go into the com- 
mon holocaust with the rest. Gayangos 
noticed particularly, as he turned it over, 
that its margins were covered with notes in 
a seventeenth-century hand. 

He continued his journey to England, and 
presently mentioned the incident to Sir 
Thomas Phillipps, and Sir Thomas's future 
son-in-law, Mr. Halliwell afterward Halli- 
well-Phillipps. The excitement of both knew 
no bounds. A First Folio which had be- 
longed to Count Gondomar, Spanish Ambas- 
sador to England up to 1622 and covered 
with contemporary marginal notes! No 

doubt a copy which had been sent out to 

102 



FIRST VISITS TO ITALY 

Gondomar from England; for he was well 
acquainted with English life and letters and 
had collected much of his library in London. 
The very thought of such a treasure perish- 
ing barbarously in a bonfire of waste paper 
was enough to drive a bibliophile out of his 
wits. Gayangos was sent back to Spain post- 
haste. But, alack! he found a library swept 
and garnished; no trace of the volume he 
had once held there in his hand, and on the 
face of his friend the librarian only a frank 
and peevish wonder that anybody should 
tease him with questions about such a trifle. 

But just dream a little! Who sent the 
volume? Who wrote the thick marginal 
notes? An English correspondent of Gondo- 
mar's? Or Gondomar himself, who arrived 
in England three years before Shakespeare's 
death, was himself a man of letters, and had 
probably seen most of the plays? 

In the few years which intervened between 
his withdrawal from England and his own 
death (1626), did he annotate the copy, 
storing there what he could remember of the 
English stage, and of "pleasant Willy" him- 
self, perhaps, during his two sojourns in 
London? And was the book overlooked as 
English and of no importance in the transfer 
of Gondomar's own library, a hundred and 
sixty years after his death, to Charles III 

103 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

of Spain? And had it been sold, perhaps, for 
an old song, and with other remnants of 
Gondomar's books, just for their local in- 
terest, to some Valladolid grandee? 

Above all, did those marginal notes which 
Gayangos had once idly looked through 
contain, perhaps though the First Folio 
does not, of course, include the Poems 
some faint key to the perennial Shakespeare 
mysteries to Mr. W. H., and the "dark 
lady," and all the impenetrable story of the 
Sonnets? 

If so, the gods themselves took care that 
the veil should not be rent. The secret re- 
mains. 

Others abide our question Thou art free. 
We ask and ask. Thou standest and art still, 
Outtopping knowledge. 



One other recollection of the Robert Els- 
mere year may fitly end my story of it. In 
September we spent an interesting afternoon 
at Hawarden the only time I ever saw 
"Mr. G." at leisure, amid his own books and 
trees. We drove over with Sir Robert and 
Lady Cunliffe, Mr. Gladstone's neighbors on 
the Welsh border, with whom we were stay- 
ing. Sir Robert, formerly an ardent Liberal, 

104 



FIRST VISITS TO ITALY 

had parted from Mr. Gladstone in the Home 
Rule crisis of 1886, and it was the first time 
they had called at Hawarden since the split. 
But nothing could have been kinder than 
the Gladstones' reception of them and of us. 
"Mr. G." and I let theology alone! and he 
was at his best and brightest, talking books 
and poetry, showing us the octagonal room 
he had built out for his 60,000 selected letters 
among them "hundreds from the Queen" 
his library, the park, and the old keep. 
As I wrote to my father, his amazing intel- 
lectual and physical vigor, and the alertness 
with which, leading the way, he "skipped up 
the ruins of the keep," were enough "to 
make a Liberal Unionist thoughtful." Ulys- 
ses was for the time in exile, but the "day 
of return" was not far off. 

Especially do I remember the animation 
with which he dwelt on the horrible story of 
Damiens, executed with every conceivable 
torture for the attempted assassination of 
Louis Quinze. He ran through the catalogue 
of torments so that we all shivered, winding 
up with a contemptuous, "And all that for 
just pricking the skin of that scoundrel 
Louis XV." 

I was already thinking of some reply both 
to Mr. Gladstone's article and to the attack 
on Robert Elsmere in the Quarterly; but it 

105 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

took me longer than I expected, and it was 
not till March in the following year (1889) 
that I published "The New Reformation," 
a Dialogue, in the Nineteenth Century. Into 
that dialogue I was able to throw the reading 
and the argument which had been of neces- 
sity excluded from the novel. Mr. Jowett 
was nervous about it, and came up on pur- 
pose from Oxford to persuade me, if he could, 
not to write it. His view and that of Mr. 
Stopford Brooke was that a work of art 
moves on one plane, and historical or critical 
controversy on another, and that a novel 
cannot be justified by an essay. But my 
defense was not an essay; I put it in the form 
of a conversation, and made it as living and 
varied as I could. By using this particular 
form, I was able to give the traditional as 
well as the critical case with some fullness, and 
I took great pains with both. From a re- 
cently published letter, I see that Lord 
Acton wrote to Mr. Gladstone that the role 
played by the orthodox anti-rational and 
wholly fanatical Newcome in the novel be- 
longed "to the infancy of art," so little could 
he be taken as representing the orthodox 
case. I wonder! I had very good reasons 
for Newcome. There are plenty of New- 
comes in the theological literature of the last 
century. To have provided a more rational 

106 



FIRST VISITS TO ITALY 

and plausible representative of orthodoxy 
would, I think, have slackened the pace and 
chilled the atmosphere of the novel. After 
all, what really supplied "the other side" 
was the whole system of things in which 
the readers of the book lived and moved 
the ideas in which they had been brought 
up, the books they read, the churches in 
which they worshiped, the sermons to which 
they listened every week. The novel chal- 
lenged this system of things; but it was al- 
ways there to make reply. It was the eternal 
sous-entendu of the story, and really gave the 
story all its force. 

But in the dialogue I could put the under- 
lying conflict of thought into articulate and 
logical form, and build up, in outline at 
least, the history of "a new learning." 
When it was published, the dear Master, 
with a sigh of relief, confessed that it had 
"done no harm," and "showed a consider- 
able knowledge of critical theology." I, too, 
felt that it had done no harm rather that it 
had vindicated my right to speak, not as an 
expert and scholar to that I never pre- 
tended for a moment but as the interpreter 
of experts and scholars who had something 
to say to the English world, and of whom the 
English world was far too little aware. In 
the preface to one of the latest editions of his 

107 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

Bampton Lectures, Canon Liddon wrote an 
elaborate answer to it, which, I think, im- 
plies that it was felt to have weight; and 
if Lord Acton had waited for its appearance 
he might not, perhaps, have been so ready 
to condemn the character of Newcome as 
belonging "to the infancy of art." That 
Newcome's type might have been infinitely 
better presented is indeed most true. But 
in the scheme of the book, it is right. For 
the ultimate answer to the critical intellect, 
or, as Newman called it, the "wild living 
intellect of man," when it is dealing with 
Christianity and miracle, is that reason is 
not the final judge is, indeed, in the last 
resort, the enemy, and must at some point 
go down, defeated and trampled on. "Ideal 
Ward," and Archdeacon Denison, and Mr. 
Spurgeon and not Doctor Figgis or Doctor 
Creighton are the apologists who in the end 
hold the fort. 

But with this analysis of what may be 
called the intellectual presuppositions of 
Robert Elsmere, my mind began to turn to 
what I believed to be the other side of the 
Greenian or Modernist message i. e., that 
life itself, the ordinary human life and ex- 
perience of every day as it has been slowly 
evolved through history, is the true source 
of religion, if man will but listen to the mes- 

108 



FIRST VISITS TO ITALY 

sage in his own soul, to the voice of the 
Eternal Friend, speaking through Conscience, 
through Society, through Nature. Hence 
David Grieve, which was already in my mind 
within a few months of the publication of 
Robert Elsmere. We were at Borough Farm 
when the vision of it first came upon me. 
It was a summer evening of extraordinary 
beauty, and I had been wandering through 
the heather and the pine woods. "The 
country" to quote an account written some 
years ago "was drenched in sunset; white 
towering thunder-clouds descending upon 
and mingling with the crimson of the heath, 
the green stretches of bracken, the brown 
pools upon the common, everywhere a rosy 
suffusion, a majesty of light interweaving 
heaven and earth and transfiguring all dear 
familiar things the old farm-house, the 
sand-pit where the children played and the 
sand-martins nested, the wood-pile by the 
farm door, the phloxes in the tumble-down 
farm-yard, the cottage down the lane. After 
months of rest, the fount of mental energy 
which had been exhausted in me the year 
before had filled again. I was eager to be 
at work, and this time on something "more 
hopeful, positive, and consoling" than the 
subject of the earlier book. 

A visit to Derbyshire in the autumn gave 
109 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

me some of the setting for the story. Then 
I took the first chapters abroad during the 
winter to Valescure, and worked them in 
that fragrant, sunny spot, making acquaint- 
ance the while with a new and delightful 
friend, Emily Lawless, the author of Hurrish 
and Grania, and of some few poems that 
deserve, I think, a long life in English 
anthologies. She and her most racy, most 
entertaining mother, old Lady Cloncurry, 
were spending the winter at Valescure, and 
my young daughter and I found them a great 
resource. Lady Cloncurry, who was a mem- 
ber of an old Galway family, the Kirwans 
of Castle Hackett, seemed to me a typical 
specimen of those Anglo-Irish gentry who 
have been harshly called the "English gar- 
rison" in Ireland, but who were really in 
the last century the most natural and 
kindly link between the two countries. So 
far as I knew them, they loved both, with a 
strong preference for Ireland. All that Eng- 
lish people instinctively resent in Irish char- 
acter its dreamy or laughing indifference 
toward the ordinary business virtues, thrift, 
prudence, tidiness, accuracy they had been 
accustomed to, even where they had not 
been infected with it, from their childhood. 
They were not Catholics, most of them, and, 

so far as they were landlords, the part played 

no 



FIRST VISITS TO ITALY 

by the priests in the Land League agitation 
tried them sore. But Miss Lawless's Grania 
is there to show how delicate and profound 
might be their sympathy with the lovely 
things in Irish Catholicism, and her best 
poems "The Dirge of the Munster Forest" 
and " After Aughrim" give a voice to Irish 
suffering and Irish patriotism which it would 
be hard to parallel in the Nationalist or rebel 
literature of recent years. The fact that they 
had both nations in their blood, both pa- 
triotisms in their hearts, infused a peculiar 
pathos often into their lives. 

Pathos, however, was not a word that 
seemed at first sight, at any rate to have 
much to do with Lady Cloncurry. She was 
the most energetic and sprightly grande dame 
as I remember her, small, with vivid black 
eyes and hair, her head always swathed in 
a becoming black lace coif, her hands in 
black mittens. She and her daughter Emily 
amused each other perennially, and were 
endless good company, besides, for other 
people. Lady Cloncurry's clothes varied 
very little. She had an Irish contempt for 
too much pains about your appearance, and 
a great dislike for grande tenue. When she 
arrived at an Irish country-house, of which 
the hostess told me the story, she said to 

the mistress of the house, on being taken to 

111 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

her room: "My dear, you don't want me 
to come down smart? I'm sure you don't! 
Of course I've brought some smart gowns. 
They [meaning her daughters] make me buy 
them. But they'll just do for my maid to 
show your maid!" And there on the ward- 
robe shelves they lay throughout her visit. 
At Valescure we were within easy reach of 
Cannes, where the Actons were settled at the 
Villa Madeleine. The awkwardness of the 
trains prevented us from seeing as much of 
them as we had hoped; but I remember 
some pleasant walks and talks with Lord 
Acton, and especially the vehement advice 
he gave us, when my husband joined us and 
we started on a short, a very short, flight to 
Italy for my husband had only a meager 
holiday from the Times: "Go to Rome! 
Never mind the journeys. Go! You will 
have three days there, you say? x Well, to 
have walked through Rome, to have spent an 
hour in the Forum, another on the Palatine; 
to have seen the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, 
and St. Peter's; to have climbed the Janicu- 
lum and looked out over the Alban hills and 
the Campagna and you can do all that in 
three days well! life is not the same after- 
ward. If you only had an afternoon in 
Rome it would be well worth while. But 

three days!" 

112 



FIRST VISITS TO ITALY 

We laughed, took him at his word, and 
rushed on for Rome. And on the way we 
saw Perugia and Assisi for the first time, dip- 
ping into spring as soon as we got south of 
the Apennines, and tasting that intoxication 
of Italian sun in winter which turns northern 
heads. Of our week in Rome I remember 
only the first overwhelming impression as 
of something infinitely old and pagan, through 
which Christianity moved about like a par- 
venu amid an elder generation of phantom 
presences, already gray with time long be- 
fore Calvary that, and the making of a 
few new friends. Of these friends, one, who 
was to hold a lasting place in my admiration 
and love through after-years, shall be men- 
tioned here Contessa Maria Pasolini. 

Contessa Maria for some thirty years has 
played a great role in the social and intel- 
lectual history of Italy. She is the daughter 
of one of the leading business families of 
Milan, sister to the Marchese Ponti, who 
was for long Sindaco of that great city, 
and intimately concerned in its stormy in- 
dustrial history. She married Count Paso- 
lini, the head of an old aristocratic family 
with large estates in the Romagna, whose 
father was President of the first Senate of 
United Italy. It was in the neighborhood 
of the Pasolini estates that Garibaldi took 

113 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

refuge after 1848; and one may pass through 
them to reach the lonely hut in which Anita 
Garibaldi died. 

Count Pasolini's father was also one of 
Pio Nono's Liberal Ministers, and the family, 
at the time, at any rate, of which I am speak- 
ing, combined Liberalism and sympathies 
for England with an enlightened and ardent 
Catholicism. I first made friends with Con- 
tessa Maria when we found her, on a cold 
February day, receiving in an apartment in 
the Piazza dei Santi Apostoli rather gloomy 
rooms, to which her dark head and eyes, her 
extraordinary expressiveness and grace, and 
the vivacity of her talk, seemed to lend a 
positive brilliance and charm. In her I first 
came to know, with some intimacy, a culti- 
vated Italian woman, and to realize what a 
strong kindred exists between the English 
and the Italian educated mind. Especially, 
I think, in the case of the educated women 
of both nations. I have often felt, in talking 
to an Italian woman friend, a similarity of 
standards, of traditions and instincts, which 
would take some explaining, if one came to 
think it out. Especially on the practical side 
of life, the side of what one may call the 
minor morals and judgments, which are 
often more important to friendship and un- 
derstanding than the greater matters of the 

114 



FIRST VISITS TO ITALY 

law. How an Italian lady manages her ser- 
vants and brings up her children; her gen- 
eral attitude toward marriage, politics, books, 
social or economic questions in all these 
fields she is, in some mysterious way, much 
nearer to the Englishwoman than the French- 
woman is. Of course, these remarks do not 
apply to the small circle of "black" families 
in Italy, particularly in Rome, who still hold 
aloof from the Italian kingdom and its in- 
stitutions. But the Liberal Catholic, man 
or woman, who is both patriotically Italian 
and sincerely religious, will discuss anything 
or anybody in heaven or earth, and just as 
tolerantly as would Lord Acton himself. 
They are cosmopolitans, and yet deep rooted 
in the Italian soil. Contessa Maria, for 
instance, was in 1889 still near the begin- 
nings of what was to prove for twenty-five 
years the most interesting salon in Rome. 
Everybody met there. Grandees of all na- 
tions, ambassadors, ecclesiastics, men of lit- 
erature, science, archeology, art, politicians, 
and diplomats Contessa Pasolini was equal 
to them all, and her talk, rapid, fearless, 
picturesque, full of knowledge, yet without 
a hint of pedantry, gave a note of unity to 
a scene that could hardly have been more 
varied or, in less skilful hands, more full of 
jarring possibilities. But later on, when I 

\ 115 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

knew her better, I saw her also with peasant 
folk, with the country people of the Cam- 
pagna and the Alban hills. And here one 
realized the same ease, the same sympathy, 
the same instinctive and unerring success, 
as one might "watch with delight on one of 
her "evenings" in the Palazzo Sciarra. 
When she was talking to a peasant woman 
on the Alban ridge, something broad and 
big and primitive seemed to come out in her, 
something of the Magna parens, the Satur- 
nian land; but something, too, that our 
Englishwomen, who live in the country and 
care for their own people, also possess. 

But I was to see much more of Contessa 
Maria and Roman society in later years, 
especially when we were at the Villa Bar- 
berini and I was writing Eleanor, in 1899. 
Now I will only recall a little saying of the 
Contessa's at our first meeting, which lodged 
itself in memory. She did not then talk 
English fluently, as she afterward came to 
do; but she was learning English, with her 
two boys, from a delightful English tutor, 
and evidently pondering English character 
and ways "Ah, you English!" I can see 
the white arm and hand, with its cigarette, 
waving in the darkness of the old Roman 
apartment; the broad brow, the smiling eyes, 
and glint of white teeth. "You English! 

116 



FIRST VISITS TO ITALY 

Why don't you talk? why won't you talk? 
If French people come here, there is no 
trouble. If I just tear up an envelope and 
throw down the pieces, they will talk about 
it a whole evening, and so well! But you 
English! you begin, and then you stop; 
one must always start you again always 
wind you up!" 

Terribly true! But in her company, even 
we halting English learned to talk, in our 
bad French, or whatever came along. 

The summer of 1889 was filled with an 
adventure to which I still look back with 
unalloyed delight, which provided me, more- 
over, with the setting and one of the main 
themes of Marcella. We were at that time 
half-way through the building of a house 
at Haslemere, which was to supersede Bor- 
ough Farm. We had grown out of Borough 
and were for the moment houseless, so far 
as summer quarters were concerned. And 
for my work's sake, I felt that eagerness for 
new scenes and suggestions which is generally 
present, I think, in the story-teller of all 
shades. Suddenly, in a house-agent's cata- 
logue, we came across an astonishing adver- 
tisement. Hampden House, on the Chiltern 
Hills, the ancestral home of John Hampden, 
of ship-money fame, was to let for the sum- 

H.-9 117 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

mer, and for a rent not beyond our powers. 
The new Lord Buckinghamshire, who had 
inherited it, was not then able to live in it. 
It had, indeed, as we knew, been let for a 
while, some years earlier, to our old friends, 
Sir Mountstuart and Lady Grant Duff, be- 
fore his departure for the Governorship of 
Madras. The agents reported that it was 
scantily furnished, but quite habitable; and 
without more ado we took it! I have now 
before me the letter in which I reported our 
arrival, in mid-July, to my husband, detained 
in town by his Times work. 

Hampden is enchanting! more delightful than 
even I thought it would be, and quite comfort- 
able enough. Of course we want a multitude of 
things (baths, wine-glasses, tumblers, cans, 
etc. !) but those I can hire from Wy combe. Our 
great deficiency is lamps! Last night we crept 
about in this vast house, with hardly any light. 
... As to the ghost, Mrs. Duval (the house- 
keeper) scoffs at it! The ghost-room is the 
tapestry-room, from which there is a staircase 
down to the breakfast-room. A good deal of 
the tapestry is loose, and when there is any 
wind it flaps and flaps. Hence all the tales. 
. . . The servants are rather bewildered by the 
size of everything, and like me were almost 
too excited to sleep The children are wander- 
ing blissfully about, exploring everything. 

118 



FIRST VISITS TO ITALY 

And what a place to wander in! After 
we left it, Hampden was restored, beauti- 
fied, and refurnished. It is now, I have no 
doubt, a charming and comfortable country- 
house. But when we lived in it for three 
months in its half-finished and tatterde- 
malion condition it was Romance pure and 
simple. The old galleried hall, the bare 
rooms, the neglected pictures among them 
the " Queen Elizabeth," presented to the 
owner of Hampden by the Queen herself 
after a visit; the gray walls of King John's 
garden, and just beyond it the little church 
where Hampden lies buried; the deserted 
library on the top floor, running along the 
beautiful garden-front, with books in it 
that might have belonged to the patriot 
himself, and a stately full-length portrait 
painted about 1600 which stood up, torn 
and frameless, among lumber of various 
kinds, the portrait of a beautiful lady in a 
flowered dress, walking in an Elizabethan 
garden; the locked room, opened to us occa- 
sionally by the agent of the property, which 
contained some of the ancestral treasures of 
the house the family Bible among them, 
with the births of John Hampden and his 
cousin, Oliver Cromwell, recorded on the 
same fly-leaf; the black cedars outside, and 
the great glade in front of the house, stretch- 

119 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

ing downward for half a mile toward the 
ruined lodges, just visible from the windows 
all this mingling of nature and history 
with the slightest, gentlest touch of pathos 
and decay, seen, too, under the golden light 
of a perfect summer, sank deep into mind 
and sense. 

Whoever cares to turn to the first chapters 
of Marcella will find as much of Hampden 
as could be transferred to paper Hampden 
as it was then in the description of Mellor. 

Our old and dear friend, Mrs. J. R. Green, 
the widow of the historian, and herself the 
most distinguished woman-historian of our 
time, joined us in the venture. But she and 
I both went to Hampden to work. I set up 
in one half-dismantled room, and she in an- 
other, with the eighteenth-century drawing- 
room between us. Here our books and 
papers soon made home. I was working at 
David Grieve; she, if I remember right, at 
the brilliant book on English Town Life she 
brought out in 1891. My husband came 
down to us for long week-ends, and as soon 
as we had provided ourselves with the abso- 
lute necessaries of life, visitors began to 
arrive: Professor and Mrs. Huxley; Sir Al- 
fred Lyall; M. Jusserand, then Conseiller 
d'Ambassade under M. Waddington, now the 

French Ambassador to Washington; Mr. 

120 



FIRST VISITS TO ITALY 

and Mrs. Lyulph Stanley, now Lord and 
Lady Sheffield; my first cousin, H. O. 
Arnold-Forster, afterward War Minister in 
Mr. Balfour's Cabinet, and his wife; Mrs. 
Graham Smith, Laura Lyttelton's sister, and 
many kinsfolk. In those days Hampden was 
six miles from the nearest railway station; 
the Great Central Railway which now passes 
through the valley below it was not built, 
and all round us stretched beechwoods and 
commons and lanes, untouched since the 
days of Roundhead and Cavalier, where the 
occasional sound of wood-cutters in the 
beech solitudes was often, through a long 
walk, the only hint of human life. What 
good walks and talks we" had in those sum- 
mer days! My sister had married Professor 
Huxley's eldest son, so that with him and his 
wife we were on terms always of the closest 
intimacy and affection. "Pater " and "Moo," 
as all their kith and kin and many of their 
friends called them, were the most racy of 
guests. He had been that year pursuing an 
animated controversy in the Nineteenth Cen- 
tury with Doctor Wace, now Dean of Canter- 
bury, who had also about a year before 
belabored the author of Robert Elsmere in the 
Quarterly Review. The Professor and I natu- 
rally enjoyed dancing a little on our oppo- 
nents when there was none to make reply! 

121 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

as we strolled about Hampden; but there 
was never a touch of bitterness in Huxley's 
nature, and there couldn't have been much 
in mine at that moment, life was so interest- 
ing, and its horizon so full of light and color! 
Of his wife, "Moo," who outlived him many 
years, how much one might say! In this 
very year, 1889, Huxley wrote to her from 
the Canaries, whither he had gone alone 
for his health: 

Catch me going out of reach of letters again. 
I have been horridly anxious. Nobody chil- 
dren or any one else can be to me what you 
are. Ulysses preferred his old woman to im- 
mortality, and this absence has led me to see 
that he was as wise in that as in other things. 

They were indeed lovers to the end. He 
had waited and served for her eight years 
in his youth, and her sunny, affectionate 
nature, with its veins both of humor and of 
stoicism, gave her man of genius exactly 
what he wanted. She survived him for many 
years, living her own life at Eastbourne, 
climbing Beachy Head in all weathers, in- 
terested in everything, and writing poems 
of little or no technical merit, but raised 
occasionally by sheer intensity of feeling 
about her husband into something very 

near the real thing. I quote these lines 

122 



FIRST VISITS TO ITALY 

from a privately printed volume she gave 
me: 

If you were here, and I were where you lie, 

Would you, beloved, give your little span 

Of life remaining unto tear and sigh? 

No! setting every tender memory 

Within your breast, as faded roses kept 

For giver's sake, of giver when bereft, 

Still to the last the lamp of work you'd burn 

For purpose high, nor any moment spurn. 

So, as you would have done, I fain would do 

In poorer fashion. Ah, how oft I try, 

Try to fulfil your wishes, till at length 

The scent of those dead roses steals my strength. 

As to our other guests, to what company 
would not Sir Alfred Lyall have added that 
touch of something provocative and challeng- 
ing which draws men and women after it, 
like an Orpheus-music? I can see him sitting 
silent, his legs crossed, his white head bent, 
the corners of his mouth drooping, his eyes 
downcast, like some one spent and wearied, 
from whom all virtue had gone out. Then 
some one, a man he liked but still oftener 
a woman would approach him, and the 
whole figure would wake to life a gentle, 
whimsical, melancholy life, yet possessed of 
a strange spell and pungency. Brooding, 
sad and deep, seemed to me to hold his 

123 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

inmost mind. The fatalism and dream of 
those Oriental religions to which he had 
given so much of his scholar's mind had 
touched him profoundly. His poems express 
it in mystical and somber verse, and his 
volumes of Asiatic Studies contain the in- 
tellectual analysis of that background of 
thought from which the poems spring. 

Yet no one was shrewder, more acute, than 
Sir Alfred in dealing with the men and 
politics of the moment. He swore to no 
man's words, and one felt in him not only 
the first-rate administrator, as shown by his 
Indian career, but also the thinker's scorn 
for the mere party point of view. He was an 
excellent gossip, of a refined and subtle sort; 
he was the soul of honor; and there was that 
in his fragile and delicate personality which 
earned the warm affection of many friends. 
So gentle, so absent-minded, so tired he often 
seemed; and yet I could imagine those gray- 
blue eyes of Sir Alfred's answering inexorably 
to any public or patriotic call. He was a 
disillusioned spectator of the " great mundane 
movement," yet eternally interested in it; 
and the man who loves this poor human life 
of ours, without ever being fooled by it, at 
least after youth is past, has a rare place 
among us. We forgive his insight, because 

there is nothing in it Pharisaical. And the 

124 



FIRST VISITS TO ITALY 

irony he uses on us we know well that he 
has long since sharpened on himself. 

When I think of M. Jusserand playing 
tennis on the big lawn at Hampden, and de- 
termined to master it, like all else that was 
English, memory leads one back behind that 
pleasant scene to earlier days still. We 
first knew the future Ambassador as an 
official of the French Foreign Office, who 
spent much of his scanty holidays in a 
scholarly pursuit of English literature. In 
Russell Square we were close to the British 
Museum, where M. Jusserand, during his 
visits to London, was deep in Chaucerian 
and other problems, gathering the learning 
which he presently began to throw into a 
series of books on the English centuries from 
Chaucer to Shakespeare. Who introduced 
him to us I cannot remember, but during 
his work at the Museum he would drop in 
sometimes for luncheon or tea; so that we 
soon began to know him well. Then, later, 
he came to London as Conseiller d'Ambassade 
under M. Waddington, an office which he 
filled till he became French Minister to Den- 
mark in 1900. Finally, in 1904, he was sent 
as French Ambassador to the United States, 
and there we found him in 1908, when we 
stayed for a delightful few days at the 
British Embassy with Mr. and Mrs. Bryce, 

125 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

It has always been a question with me, 
which of two French friends is the more 
wonderful English scholar M. Jusserand or 
Andre* Chevrillon, Taine's nephew and liter- 
ary executor, and himself one of the leaders 
of French letters; with whom, as with M. 
Jusserand, I may reckon now some thirty 
years of friendship. No one could say that 
M. Jusserand speaks our tongue exactly like 
an Englishman. He does much better. He 
uses it always, of course, with perfect cor- 
rectness and fluency to express French 
ideas and French wits, in a way as nearly 
French as the foreign language will permit. 
The result is extraordinarily stimulating to 
our English wits. The slight differences both 
in accent and in phrase keep the ear attentive 
and alive. New shades emerge; old cliches 
are broken up. M. Chevrillon has much less 
accent, and his talk is more flowingly and 
convincingly English; for which, no doubt, 
a boyhood partly spent in England accounts. 
While for vivacity and ease there is little 
or nothing to choose. 

But to these two distinguished and ac- 
complished men England and America owe 
a real debt of gratitude. They have not by 
any means always approved of our national 
behavior. M. Jusserand during his official 
career in Egypt was, I believe, a very candid 

126 




JEAN JULES JUSSERAND 



FIRST VISITS TO ITALY 

critic of British administration and British 
methods, and in the days of our early ac- 
quaintance with him I can remember many 
an amusing and caustic sally of his at the 
expense of our politicians and our foreign 
policy. 

M. Chevrillon took the Boer side in the 
South African war, and took it with passion. 
All the same, the friendship of both the diplo- 
mat and the man of letters for this country, 
based upon their knowledge of her, and 
warmly returned to them by many English 
friends, has been a real factor in the growth 
of that broad-based sympathy which we now 
call the Entente. M. ChevriUon's knowledge 
of us is really uncanny. He knows more 
than we know ourselves. And his last book 
about us L J Angleterre et la Guerre is not 
only photographically close to the facts, 
but full of a spiritual sympathy which is 
very moving to an English reader. Men of 
such high gifts are not easily multiplied in 
any country. But, looking to the future of 
Europe, the more that France and England 
and America can cultivate in their citi- 
zens some degree, at any rate, of that inti- 
mate understanding of a foreign nation which 
shines so conspicuously in the work of these 
two Frenchmen the safer will that future be. 

,127 



CHAPTER V 

AMALFI AND ROME. HAMPDEN AND 
MARCELLA 

IT was in November, 1891, that I finished 
David Grieve, after a long wrestle of more 
than three years. I was tired out, and we 
fled south for rest to Rome, Naples, Amalfi, 
and Ravello. The Cappucini Hotel at 
Amalfi, Madame Palumbo's inn at Ravello, 
remain with me as places of pure delight, 
shone on even in winter by a more than 
earthly sun. 

Madame Palumbo was, as her many guests 
remember, an Englishwoman, and showed 
a special zeal in making English folk com- 
fortable. And can one ever forget the sun- 
rise over the Gulf of Salerno from the Ravello 
windows? It was December when we were 
there; yet nothing spoke of winter. From 
the inn, perched on a rocky point above the 
coast, one looked straight down for hundreds 
of feet, through lemon-groves and olive- 
gardens, to the blue water. Flaming over the 
mountains rose an unclouded sun, shining on 
the purple coast, with its innumerable rock- 
towns "tot congesta manu prceruptis oppida 

128 



saxis" and sending broad paths over the 
" wine-dark" sea. Never, I think, have I 
felt the glory and beauty of the world more 
rapturously, more painfully for there is 
pain in it! than when one was standing 
alone on a December morning, at a window 
which seemed to make part of the precipitous 
rock itself, looking over that fairest of scenes. 
From Ravello we went back to Rome, and 
a short spell of its joys. What is it makes 
the peculiar pleasure of society in Rome? 
A number of elements, of course, enter in. 
The setting is incomparable; while the clash- 
ing of great world policies, represented by 
the diplomats, and of the main religious 
and Liberal forces of Europe, as embodied in 
the Papacy and modern Italy, kindles a 
warmth and animation in the social air 
which matches the clearness of the Roman 
day, when the bright spells of the winter 
weather arrive, and the omnipresent foun- 
tains of the Eternal City flash the January 
or February sun through its streets and 
piazzas. Ours, however, on this occasion, 
was only a brief stay. Again we saw Contessa 
Maria, this time in the stately setting of the 
Palazzo Sciarra; and Count Ugo Balzani, 
an old friend of ours and of the Creightons 
since Oxford days, historian and thinker, 
and, besides, one of the kindest and truest 

129 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

of men. But the figure, perhaps, which 
chiefly stands out in memory as connected 
with this short visit is that of Lord Dufferin, 
then our Ambassador in Rome. Was there 
ever a greater charmer than Lord Dufferin? 
In the sketch of the " Ambassador" in 
Eleanor, there are some points caught from 
the living Lord Dufferin, so closely, indeed, 
that before the book came out I sent him 
the proofs and asked his leave which he 
gave at once, in one of the graceful little 
notes of which he was always master. For 
the diplomatic life and successes of Lord 
Dufferin are told in many official documents 
and in the biography of him by Sir Alfred 
Lyall; but the key to it all lay in cradle 
gifts that are hard to put into print. 

In the first place, he was even at sixty- 
five wonderfully handsome. He had in- 
herited the beauty, and also the humor and 
the grace, of his Sheridan ancestry. For his 
mother, as all the world knows, was Helen 
Sheridan, one of the three famous daughters 
of Tom Sheridan, the dramatist's only son. 
Mrs. Norton, the innocent heroine of the 
Melbourne divorce suit, was one of his aunts, 
and the "Queen of Beauty" at the Eglinton 
Tournament then Lady Seymour, after- 
ward Duchess of Somerset was the other. 
His mother's memory was a living thing to 

130 



MARCELLA 

him all his life; he published her letters and 
poems; and at Clandeboye, his Ulster home, 
in "Helen's Tower" he had formed a col- 
lection of memorials of her which he liked 
to show to those of whom he made friends. 
"You must come to Clandeboye and let me 
show you Helen's Tower," he would say, 
eagerly, and one would answer with hopeful 
vagueness. But for me the time never came. 
My personal recollections of him, apart 
from letters, are all connected with Rome, 
or Paris, whither he was transferred the year 
after we saw him at the Roman Embassy, 
in December, 1891. 

It was, therefore, his last winter at Rome, 
and he had only been Ambassador there a 
little more than two years since he ceased 
to be Viceroy of India in 1889. But he had 
already won everybody's affection. The 
social duties of the British Embassy in Rome 
what with the Italian world in all its 
shades, the more or less permanent English 
colony, and the rush of English tourists 
through the winter and spring seemed to 
me by no means easy. But Lady Dufferin's 
dignity and simplicity, and Lord Dufferin's 
temperament, carried them triumphantly 
through the tangle. Especially do I remem- 
ber the informal Christmas dance to which 
we took, by the Ambassador's special wish, 

131 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

our young daughter of seventeen, who was 
not really "out." And no sooner was she in 
the room, shyly hiding behind her elders, 
than he 'discovered her. I can see him still, 
as he made her a smiling bow, his noble 
gray head and kind eyes, the blue ribbon 
crossing his chest. "You promised me a 
dance!" And so for her first waltz, in her 
first grown-up dance, D. was well provided, 
nervous as the moment was. 

There is a passage in Eleanor which com- 
memorates first this playful sympathy and 
tact which made Lord Dufferin so delightful 
to all ages, and next, an amusing conversa- 
tion with him that I remember a year or two 
later in Paris. As to the first Lucy Foster, 
the young American girl, is lunching at the 
Embassy. 

"Ah! my dear lady!" said the Ambassador, 
"how few things in this world one does to please 
one's self! This is one of them." 

Lucy flushed with a young and natural pleas- 
ure. She was on the Ambassador's left, and 
he had just laid his wrinkled hand for an in- 
stant on hers with a charming and paternal 
freedom. 

"Have you enjoyed yourself? have you 
lost your heart to Italy?" said her host stooping 
to her. . . . 

"I have been in fairyland," said she, shyly, 

132 



MARCELLA 

opening her blue eyes upon him. "Nothing can 
ever be like it again." 

"No because one can never be twenty again," 
said the old man, sighing. "Twenty years 
hence, you will wonder where the magic came 
from. Never mind just now, anyway, the 
world's your oyster." 

Then he looked at her a little more closely. 
. . . He missed some of that quiver of youth and 
enjoyment he had felt in her before; and there 
were some very dark lines under the beautiful 
eyes. What was wrong? Had she met the 
man the appointed one? 

He began to talk to her with a kindness that 
was at once simple and stately. 

"We must all have our ups and downs," he 
said to her, presently. "Let me just give you 
a word of advice. It 11 carry you through most 
of them. Remember you are very young, and 
I shall soon be very old." 

He stopped and surveyed her. His eyes 
blinked through their blanched lashes. Lucy 
dropped her fork and looked back at him with 
smiling expectancy. 

"Learn Persian!" said the old man, in an 
urgent whisper "and get the dictionary by 
heart!" 

Lucy still looked wondering. 

"I finished it this morning," said the Ambas- 
sador, in her ear. "To-morrow I shall begin it 
again. My daughter hates the sight of the 
thing. She says I overtire myself, and that 

ii. 10 133 



A W.RITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

when old people have done their work they should 
take a nap. But I know that if it weren't for 
my dictionary I should have given up long ago. 
When too many tiresome people dine here in 
the evening or when they worry me from home 
I take a column. But generally half a col- 
umn's enough good tough Persian roots, and 
no nonsense. Oh! of course I can read Hafiz 
and Omar Khayyam, and all that kind of thing. 
But that's the whipped cream. That don't 
count. What one wants is something to set 
one's teeth in. Latin verse will do. Last year 
I put half Tommy Moore into hendecasyllables. 
But my youngest boy, who's at Oxford, said he 
wouldn't be responsible for them so I had to 
desist. And I suppose the mathematicians have 
always something handy. But, one way or 
another, one must learn one's dictionary. It 
comes next to cultivating one's garden." 

The pretty bit of kindness to a very young 
girl, in 1892, which I have described, sug- 
gested part of this conversation; and I find 
the foundation of the rest in a letter written 
to my father from Paris in 1896. 

We had a very pleasant three days in Paris . . . 
including a most agreeable couple of hours with 
the Dufferins. Lord Dufferin showed me a 
number of relics of his Sheridan ancestry, and 
wound up by taking me into his special little 
den and telling me Persian stories with excellent 
grace and point! He is wild about Persian just 

134 



MARCELLA 

now, and has just finished learning the whole 
dictionary by neart. He looks upon this as his 
chief delassement from official work. Lady Duf- 
ferin, however, does not approve of it at all! 
His remarks to Humphry as to the ignorance 
and inexperience of the innumerable French 
Foreign Ministers with whom he has to do, 
were amusing. An interview with Berthelot 
(the famous French chemist and friend of Renan) 
was really, he said, a deplorable business. 
Berthelot (Foreign Minister 1891-92) knew 
everything but what he should have known as 
French Foreign Minister. And Jusserand's testi- 
mony was practically the same! He is now act- 
ing head of the French Foreign Office, and has 
had three Ministers in bewildering succession to 
instruct in their duties, they being absolutely 
new to everything. Now, however, in Hanotaux 
he has got a strong chief at last. 

I recollect that in the course of our explora- 
tion of the Embassy, we passed through a 
room with a large cheval-glass, of the Empire 
period. Lord Dufferin paused before it, re- 
minding me that the house had once belonged 
to Pauline Borghese. "This was her room 
and this glass was hers. I often stand be- 
fore it and evoke her. She is there some- 
where if one had eyes to see!" 

And I thought, in the darkening room, as 
one looked into the shadows of the glass, 
of the beautiful, shameless creature as she 

135 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

appears in the Canova statue in the Villa 
Borghese, or as David has fixed her, immor- 
tally young, in the Louvre picture. 

But before I leave this second Roman visit 
of ours, let me recall one more figure in the 
entourage of the Ambassador a young at- 
tache", fair-haired, with all the good looks 
and good manners that belong to the post, 
and how much else of solid wit and capacity 
the years were then to find out. I had al- 
ready seen Mr. Rennell Rodd in the Tennant 
circle, where he was everybody's friend. Soon 
we were to hear of him in Greece, whence 
he sent me various volumes of poems and 
an admirable study of the Morea, then in 
Egypt, and afterward in Sweden; while 
through all these arduous years of war (I 
write in 1917) he has been Ambassador in 
that same Rome where we saw him as second 
Secretary in 1891. 

The appearance of David Grieve in Feb- 
ruary, 1892, four years after Robert 
Elsmere, was to me the occasion of very 
mixed feelings. The public took warmly to 
the novel from the beginning; in its English 
circulation and its length of life it has, I 
think, very nearly equaled Robert Elsmere; 
only after twenty-five years has it now fallen 
behind its predecessor. It has brought me 

136 



MARCELLA 

correspondence from all parts and all classes, 
more intimate and striking, perhaps, than in 
the case of any other of my books. But of 
hostile reviewing at the moment of its ap- 
pearance there was certainly no lack! It 
was violently attacked in the Scots Observer, 
then the organ of a group of Scotch Conser- 
vatives and literary men, with W. E. Henley 
at their head, and received unfriendly notice 
from Mrs. Oliphant in Blackwood. The two 
Quarterlies opened fire upon it, and many 
lesser guns. A letter from Mr. Meredith 
Townsend, the very able, outspoken, and 
wholly independent colleague of Mr. Button 
in the editorship of the Spectator, gave me 
some comfort under these onslaughts! 

I have read every word of David Grieve. Ow- 
ing to the unusual and unaccountable imbecil- 
ity of the reviewing (the Athenceum man, for 
example, does not even comprehend that he is 
reading a biography!) it may be three months 
or so before the public fully takes hold, but I 
have no doubt of the ultimate verdict. . . . The 
consistency of the leading characters is wonder- 
ful, and there is not one of the twenty-five, except 
possibly Dora who is not human enough 
that is not the perfection of lifelikeness. . . . 
Louie is a vivisection. I have the misfortune 
to know her well . . . and I am startled page 
after page by the accuracy of the drawing. 

137 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

Walter Pater wrote, "It seems to me to 
have all the forces of its predecessor at work 
in it, with perhaps a mellower kind of art." 
Henry James reviewed it so generously! 
so subtly! in the English Illustrated. Stop- 
ford Brooke and Bishop Creighton wrote to 
me with a warmth and emphasis that soon 
healed the wounds of the Scots Observer; and 
that the public was with them, and not with 
my castigators, was quickly visible from the 
wide success of the book. 

Some of the most interesting letters that 
reached me about it were from men of 
affairs who were voracious readers, but not 
makers of books such as Mr. Goschen, 
who "could stand an examination on it"; 
Sir James, afterward Lord Hannen, one of 
the Judges of the Parnell Commission; and 
Lord Derby, the Minister who seceded, with 
Lord Carnarvon, from Disraeli's Govern- 
ment in 1878. We had made acquaintance 
not long before with Lord Derby, through 
his niece, Lady Winifred Byng (now Lady 
Burghclere), to whom we had all lost our 
hearts children and parents at Lucerne in 
1888. There are few thing:, I regret more in 
relation to London social life than the short 
time allowed me by fate wherein to see 
something more of Lord Derby. If I remem- 
ber right, we first met him at a small dinner- 

138 



MARCELLA 

party at Lady Winifred's in 1891, and he 
died early in 1893. But he made a very great 
impression upon me, and, though he was 
generally thought to be awkward and shy 
in general society, in the conversations I re- 
member with him nothing could have been 
more genial or more attractive than his man- 
ner. He had been at Rugby under my grand- 
father, which was a link to begin withf 
though he afterward went to Cambridge, 
and never showed, that I know of, any signs 
of the special Rugby influence which stamped 
men like Dean Stanley and Clough. And 
yet of the moral independence and activity 
which my grandfather prized and cultivated 
in his boys, there was certainly no lack in 
Lord Derby's career. For the greater part 
of his political life he was nominally a Con- 
servative, yet the rank and file of his party 
only half trusted a mind trained by John 
Stuart Mill and perpetually brooding on 
social reform. As Lord Stanley, his close 
association and personal friendship with Dis- 
raeli during the Ministries and politics of 
the mid-nineteenth century have been well 
brought out in Mr. Buckle's last volume of 
the Disraeli Life. But the ultimate parting 
between himself and Dizzy was probably al- 
ways inevitable. For his loathing of advent- 
urous policies of all kinds, and of any in- 

139 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

crease whatever in the vast commitments of 
England, was sure at some point to bring 
him into conflict with the imagination or, 
as we may now call it, the prescience, of 
Disraeli. It was strange to remember, as 
one watched him at the dinner-table, that he 
had been offered the throne of Greece in 1862. 

If he accepts the charge [wrote Dizzy to Mrs. 
Bridges Williams] I shall lose a powerful friend 
and colleague. It is a dazzling adventure for 
the House of Stanley, but they are not an 
imaginative race, and I fancy they will prefer 
Knowsley to the Parthenon, and Lancashire to 
the Attic plain. It is a privilege to live in this 
age of rapid and brilliant events. What an 
error to consider it an utilitarian age! It is one 
of infinite romance. Thrones tumble down and 
crowns are offered like a fairy-tale. 

Sixteen years later came his famous resig- 
nation, in 1878, when the Fleet was ordered 
to the Dardanelles, and Lord Derby, as he 
had now become, then Foreign Secretary, 
refused to sanction a step that might lead to 
war. That, for him, was the end as far as 
Toryism was concerned. In 1880 he joined 
Mr. Gladstone, but only to separate from 
him on Home Rule in 1886; and when I 
first knew him, in 1891, he was leader of the 
Liberal Unionist peers in the House of 
Lords. A little later he became President 

J40 



MARCELLA 

of the great Labor Commission in 1892, and 
before he could see Gladstone's fresh defeat 
in 1893, he died. 

Speculatively he was as open-minded as a 
reader and follower of Mill might be ex- 
pected to be. He had been interested in 
Robert Elsmere, and the discussion of books 
and persons, to which it led him in conversa- 
tion with me, showed him fully aware of the 
new forces abroad in literature and history. 
Especially interested, too, as to what Labor 
was going to make of Christianity, and well 
aware how could he fail to be, as Chairman 
of that great, that epoch-making Commis- 
sion of 1892? of the advancing strength of 
organized labor on all horizons. He appeared 
to me, too, as a typical North-countryman 
a son of Lancashire, proud of the great Lan- 
cashire towns, and thoroughly at home in 
the life of the Lancashire countryside. He 
could tell a story in dialect admirably. And 
I realized that he had thought much in his 
balanced, reticent way on matters in which 
I was then groping: how to humanize the 
relations between employer and employed, 
how to enrich and soften the life of the work- 
man, how, in short, to break down the 
barrier between modern industrialism and 
the stored-up treasures art, science, thought 
of man's long history. 

141 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

So that when David Grieve was finished I 
sent it to Lord Derby, not long after our 
first meeting, in no spirit of empty com- 
pliment, and I have always kept his letter 
in return as a memento of a remarkable 
personality. Some day I hope there may be 
a Memoir of him; for none has yet appeared. 
He had not the charm, the versatility, the 
easy classical culture, of his famous father 
"the Rupert of debate." But with his great 
stature he was six feet two his square 
head, and strong, smooth-shaven face, he was 
noticeable everywhere. He was a childless 
widower when I first knew him, and made 
the impression of a lonely man, for all his 
busy political life and his vast estates. But 
he was particularly interesting to me as rep- 
resenting a type I have once or twice tried 
to draw of the aristocrat standing between 
the old world, before railways and the first 
Reform Bill, which saw his birth, and the 
new world and new men of the later half of 
the century. He was traditionally with the 
old world; by conviction and conscience, I 
think, with the new; yet not sorry, prob- 
ably, that he was to see no more than its 
threshold! 

The year 1892, it will be remembered, was 
the first year of American copyright: and 

142 



MARCELLA 

the great success of David Grieve in America, 
following on the extraordinary vogue there 
of Robert Elsmere, in its pirated editions, 
brought me largely increased literary re- 
ceipts. It seemed that I was not destined, 
after all, to "ruin my publishers," as I had 
despondently foretold in a letter to my hus- 
band before the appearance of Robert Els- 
mere; but that, with regular work, I might 
look forward to a fairly steady income. We 
therefore felt justified in seizing an oppor- 
tunity brought to our notice by an old friend 
who lived in the neighborhood, and migrat- 
ing to a house north of London, in the real 
heart of Middle England. After leaving 
Borough Farm, we had built a house on a 
hill near Haslemere, looking south over the 
blue and purple Weald; but two years' resi- 
dence had convinced me that Surrey was 
almost as populous as London, and that real 
solitude for literary work was not to be found 
there at any rate, in that corner of it where 
we had chosen to build, and, also, while we 
were nursing our newly planted shrubberies 
of baby pines and rhododendrons, there was 
always in my mind, as I find from letters of 
the time, a discontented yearning for "an 
old house and old trees"! We found both 
at Stocks, whither we migrated in the sum- 
mer of 1892. The little estate had then been 

143 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

recently inherited by Mrs. Grey, mother of 
Sir Edward Grey, now Lord Grey of Fallo- 
den. We were at first tenants of the house 
and grounds, but in 1896 we bought the small 
property from the Greys, and have now been 
for more than twenty years its happy pos- 
sessors. The house lies on a high upland, 
under one of the last easterly spurs of the 
Chilterns. It was built in 1780 (we rebuilt 
it in 1908) in succession to a much older 
house of which a few fragments remain, and 
the village at its gates had changed hardly 
at all in the hundred years which preceded 
our arrival. A few new cottages had been 
built; more needed to be built; and two 
residents, intimately connected with the past 
of the village, had built houses just outside 
it. But villadom did not exist. The village 
was rich in old folk, in whom were stored 
the memories and traditions of its quiet past. 
The postmaster, "Johnny Dolt," who was 
nearing his eighties, was the universal referee 
on all local questions rights of way, boun- 
daries, village customs, and the like; and 
of some of the old women of the village, as 
they were twenty-five years ago, I have 
drawn as faithful a picture as I could in one 
or two chapters of Marcella. 

But the new novel owed not only much 
of its scenery and setting, but also its main 

144 



MARCELLA 

incident, to the new house. We first entered 
into negotiation for Stocks in January, 1892. 
In the preceding December two gamekeepers 
had been murdered on the Stocks property, 
in a field under a big wood, not three hun- 
dred yards from the house; and naturally 
the little community, as it lay in its rural 
quiet beneath its wooded hills, was still, 
when we first entered it, under the shock 
and excitement of the tragedy. We heard 
all the story on the spot, and then viewed it 
from another point of view the socio- 
political when we went down from London 
to stay at one of the neighboring country- 
houses, in February, and found the Home 
Secretary, Mr. Matthews, afterward Lord 
Llandaff, among the guests. The trial was 
over, the verdict given, and the two mur- 
derers were under sentence of death. But 
there was a strong agitation going on in 
favor of a reprieve; and what made the dis- 
cussion of it, in this country-house party, 
particularly piquant was that the case, at 
that very moment, was a matter of close con- 
sultation between the judge and the Home 
Secretary. It was not easy, therefore, to 
talk of it in Mr. Matthews's presence. 
Voices dropped and groups dissolved when 
he appeared. Mr. Asquith, who succeeded 
Mr. Matthews that very year as Home Sec- 

145 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

retary, was also, if I remember right, of the 
party; and there was a good deal of rather 
hot discussion of the game laws, and of 
English landlordism in general. 

With these things in my mind, as soon as 
we had settled into Stocks, I began to think 
of Marcella. I wrote the sketch of the book 
in September, 1892, and finished it in Febru- 
ary, 1894. Many things went to the making 
of it not only the murdered keepers and 
the village talk, not only the remembered 
beauty of Hampden which gave me the main 
setting of the story, but a general ferment of 
mind, connected with much else that had 
been happening to me. 

For the New Brotherhood of Robert Els- 
mere had become in some sort a realized 
dream; so far as any dream can ever take 
to itself the practical garments of this puz- 
zling world. To show that the faith of Green 
and Martineau and Stopford Brooke was a 
faith that would wear and work to provide 
a home for the new learning of a New Refor- 
mation, and a practical outlet for its en- 
thusiasm of humanity were the chief aims 
in the minds of those of us who in 1890 
founded the University Hall Settlement in 
London. I look back now with emotion on 
that astonishing experiment. The scheme 
had taken shape in my mind during the 

146 



MARCELLA 

summer of 1889, and in the following year 
I was able to persuade Doctor Martineau, 
Mr. Stopford Brooke, my old friend Lord 
Carlisle, and a group of other religious Lib- 
erals, to take part in its realization. We 
held a crowded meeting in London, and an 
adequate subscription list was raised without 
difficulty. University Hall in Gordon Square 
was taken as a residence for young men, and 
was very soon filled. Continuous teaching 
by the best men available, from all the 
churches, on the history and philosophy of 
religion, was one half the scheme; the other 
half busied itself with an attempt to bring 
about some real contact between brain and 
manual workers. We took a little dingy hall 
in Marchmont Street, where the residents of 
the Hall started elubs and classes, Saturday 
mornings, for children and the like. The 
foundation of Toynbee Hall the Universi- 
ties Settlement in East London, in memory 
of Arnold Toynbee, was then a fresh and 
striking fact in social history. A spirit of 
fraternization was in the air, an ardent wish 
to break down the local and geographical 
barriers that separated rich from poor, East 
End from West End. The new venture in 
which I was interested attached itself, there- 
fore, to a growing movement. The work in 
Marchmont Street grew and prospered. Men 

147 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

and women of the working class found in it 
a real center of comradeship, and the resi- 
dents at the Hall in Gordon Square, led by 
a remarkable man of deeply religious tem- 
per and Quaker origin, the late Mr. Alfred 
Robinson, devoted themselves in the evenings 
to a work marked by a very genuine and 
practical enthusiasm. 

Soon it was evident that larger premises 
were wanted. It was in the days when Mr. 
Passmore Edwards was giving large sums to 
institutions of different kinds in London, but 
especially to the founding of public libraries. 
He began to haunt the shabby hall in March- 
mont Street, and presently offered to build 
us a new hall there for classes and social 
gatherings. But the scheme grew and grew, 
in my mind as in his. And when the ques- 
tion of a site arose we were fortunate enough 
to interest the practical and generous mind 
of the chief ground landlord of Bloomsbury, 
the Duke of Bedford. With him I explored 
various sites in the neighborhood, and finally 
the Duke offered us a site in Tavistock 
Place, on most liberal terms, he himself con- 
tributing largely to the building, granting us 
a 999 years' lease, and returning us the 
ground rent. 

And there the Settlement now stands, the 
most beautiful and commodious Settlement 

148 



MARCELLA 

building in London, with a large garden be- 
hind it, made by the Duke out of various 
old private gardens, and lent to the Settle- 
ment for its various purposes. Mr. Pass- 
more Edwards contributed 14,000 to its 
cost, and it bears his name. It was opened 
in 1898 by Lord Peel and Mr. Morley, and 
for twenty years it has been a center of social 
work and endeavor in St. Pancras. From 
it have sprung the PhysicaUy Defective 
Schools under the Education Authority, now 
so plentiful in London, and so frequent in 
our other large towns. The first school of the 
kind was opened at this Settlement in 1898; 
and the first school ambulance in London 
was given to us by Sir Thomas Barlow for 
our Cripple Children. The first Play Center 
in England began there in 1898; and the 
first Vacation School was held there in 1902. 
During those twenty years the Settlement 
has played a large part in my life. We have 
had our failures and our successes; and the 
original idea has been much transformed 
with time. The Jowett Lectureship, still 
devoted to a religious or philosophical sub- 
ject, forms a link with the religious lecturing 
of the past; but otherwise the Settlement, 
like the Master himself, stands for the liberal 
and spiritual life, without definitions or ex- 
clusions. Up to 1915 it was, like Toynbee 

ii. 11 149 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

Hall, a Settlement for University and pro- 
fessional men who gave their evenings to 
the work. Since 1915 it has been a Women's 
Settlement under a distinguished head 
Miss Hilda Oakeley, M.A., formerly Warden 
of King's College for Women. It is now full 
of women residents and full of work. There 
is a Cripple School building belonging to the 
Settlement, to the East; our cripples still 
fill the Duke's garden with the shouts of 
their play; and hundreds of other children 
crowd into the building every evening in the 
winter, or sit under the plane-trees in sum- 
mer. The charming hall of the Settlement is 
well attended every winter week by people 
to whom the beautiful music that the Set- 
tlement gives is a constant joy; the Library, 
dedicated to the memory of T. H. Green, has 
400 members; the classes and popular lect- 
ures have been steadily held even during 
this devastating war; the Workers' Educa- 
tional Association carry on their work under 
our roof; mothers bring their babies to the 
Infant Welfare Center in the afternoon; 
there are orchestral and choral classes, boys' 
clubs and girls' clubs. Only one club has 
closed down the Men's Club, which occu- 
pied the top floor of the Invalid Children's 
School before the war. Their members are 
scattered over France, Salonika, Egypt, 

150 



MARCELLA 

and Mesopotamia, and the Roll of Honor 
is a long one. 

Twenty years! How clearly one sees the 
mistakes, the lost opportunities, of such an 
enterprise! But so much is certain that the 
Settlement has been an element of happiness 
in many, many lives. It has had scores of 
devoted workers, in the past men and 
women to whom the heart of its founder 
goes out in gratitude. And I cannot imagine 
a time when the spacious and beautiful 
house and garden, with all the activities 
that have a home there, will not be necessary 
and welcome to St. Pancras. I see it, in my 
dreams, at least, half a century hence, when 
all those who first learned from it and in it 
have gone their way, still serving "the 
future hour" of an England reborn. To two 
especially among the early friends of the 
Settlement let me turn back with grateful 
remembrance George Howard, Lord Car- 
lisle, whom I have already mentioned, and 
Stopford Brooke. Lord Carlisle was one of 
the most liberal and most modest of men, 
an artist himself, and the friend of artists. 
On a Sunday in Russell Square, when the 
drawing-room door opened to reveal his fine 
head and shy, kind eyes, one felt how well 
worth while it was to stay at home on Sun- 
day afternoons! I find a little note from 

151 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

him in 1891, the year in which we left Rus- 
sell Square to move westward, regretting the 
"interesting old house" "with which I asso- 
ciate you in my mind." He was not an easy 
talker, but his listening had the quality that 
makes others talk their best; while the sud- 
den play of humor or sarcasm through the 
features that were no less strong than re- 
fined, and the impression throughout of a 
singularly upright and humane personality, 
made him a delightful companion. There 
were those who would gladly have seen him 
take a more prominent part in public life. 
Perhaps a certain natural indolence held him 
back; perhaps a wonderful fairness of mind 
which made him slow to judge, and abnor- 
mally sensitive to "the other side." It is 
well known that as a landlord he left the 
administration of his great estates in the 
north almost wholly to his wife, and that, 
except in the great matter of temperance, 
he and she differed in politics, Lady Carlisle 
who was a Stanley of Alderley going with 
Mr. Gladstone at the time of the Home Rule 
split, while Lord Carlisle joined the Liberal 
Unionists. Both took a public part, and the 
political differences of the parents were con- 
tinued in their children. Only a very rare 
and selfless nature could have carried through 
so difficult a situation without lack of either 

152 



MARCELLA 

dignity or sweetness. Lord Carlisle, in the 
late 'eighties and early 'nineties, when I 
knew him best, showed no want of either. 
The restrictions he laid upon his own life 
were perhaps made natural by the fact that 
he was first and foremost an artist by train- 
ing and temperament, and that the ordinary 
occupations, rural, social, or political, of the 
great land-owning noble, had little or no 
attraction for him. In the years, at any rate, 
when I saw him often, I was drawn to him 
by our common interest in the liberalizing 
of religion, and by a common love of Italy 
and Italian art. I remember him once in 
the incomparable setting of Naworth; but 
more often in London, and in Stopford 
Brooke's company. 

For he was an intimate friend and follower 
of Mr. Brooke's, and I came very early under 
the spell of that same strong and magnetic 
personality. While we were still at Oxford, 
through J. R. G. we made acquaintance with 
Mr. Brooke, and with the wife whose early 
death in 1879 left desolate one of the most 
affectionate of men. I remember well Mr. 
Brooke's last sermon in the University pulpit, 
before his secession, on grounds of what we 
should now call Modernism, from the Church 
of England. Mrs. Brooke, I think, was 
staying with us, while Mr. Brooke was at 

153 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

All Souls, and the strong individuality of 
both the husband and wife made a deep 
impression upon one who was then much 
more responsive and recipient than individ- 
ual. The -sermon was a great success; but 
it was almost Mr. Brooke's latest utterance 
within the Anglican Church. The following 
year came the news of Mrs. Brooke's mortal 
illness. During our short meeting in 1877 
I had been greatly attracted by her, and the 
news filled me with unbearable pain. But 
I had not understood from it that the end 
itself was near, and I went out into our little 
garden, which was a mass of summer roses, 
and in a bewilderment of feeling gathered 
all I could find a glorious medley of bloom- 
that they might surround her, if only for a 
day, with the beauty she loved. Next day, 
or the day after, she died; and that basket of 
roses, arriving in the house of death be- 
lated, incongruous offering! has stayed with 
me as the symbol of so much else that is too 
late in life, and of our human helplessness 
and futility in the face of sorrow. 

After our move to London, my children 
and I went for a long time regularly to hear 
Mr. Brooke at Bedford Chapel. At the time, 
I often felt very critical of the sermons. 
Looking back, I cannot bring myself to say a 
critical word. If only one could still go and 

154 



MARCELLA 

hear him! Where are the same gifts, the 
same magnetism, the same compelling per- 
sonality to be found to-day, among religious 
leaders? I remember a sermon on Elijah 
and the priests of Baal, which for color and 
range, for modernness, combined with ethical 
force and power, remains with me as perhaps 
the best I ever heard. And then, the service. 
Prayers simplified, repetitions omitted, the 
Beatitudes instead of the Commandments, 
a dozen jarring, intolerable things left out; 
but for the rest, no needless break with 
association. And the relief and consolation 
of it! The simple Communion service, 
adapted very slightly from the Anglican rite, 
and administered by Mr. Brooke with a rev- 
erence, an ardor, a tenderness one can only 
think of with Demotion, was an example of 
what could be done with our religious tradi- 
tions, for those who want new bottles for 
new wine, if only the courage and the imag- 
ination were there. 

The biography of Mr. Brooke, which his 
son-in-law, Principal Jacks, has just brought 
out, will, I think, reveal to many what made 
the spell of Stopford Brooke, to a degree 
which is not common in biography. For le 
papier est bete! and the charm of a man who 
was both poet and artist, without writing 
poems or painting pictures, is very hard to 

155 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

hand on to those who never knew him. 
But, luckily, Stopford Brooke's diaries and 
letters reflect him with great fullness and 
freedom. They have his faults, naturally. 
They are often exuberant or hasty not, by 
any means, always fair to men and women 
of a different temperament from his own. 
Yet, on the whole, there is the same practical, 
warm-hearted wisdom in them that many a 
friend found in the man himself when they 
went to consult him in his little study at 
the back of Bedford Chapel, where he wrote 
his sermons and books, and found quiet, 
without, however, barring out the world, if 
it wanted him. And there breathes from 
them also the enduring, eager passion for 
natural and artistic beauty which made the 
joy of his own life, and which his letters and 
journals may well kindle in others. His old 
age was a triumph in the most difficult of 
arts. He was young to the end, and every 
day of the last waiting years was happy for 
himself, and precious to those about him. 
He knew what to give up and what to keep, 
and his freshness of feeling never failed. Per- 
haps his best and most enduring memorial 
will be the Wordsworth Cottage at Gras- 
mere, which he planned and carried out. 
And I like to remember that my last sight 
of him was at a spot only a stone's-throw 

156 



MARCELLA 

from that cottage on the Keswick Road, 
his gray hair beaten back by the light breeze 
coming from the pass, and his cheerful eyes, 
full often, as it seemed to me, of a mystical 
content, raised toward the evening glow 
over Helm Crag and the Easedale fells. 

On the threshold also of the Settlement's 
early history there stands the venerable fig- 
ure of James Martineau thinker and saint. 
For he was a member of the original Council, 
and his lectures on the Gospel of St. Luke, 
in the old "Elsmerian" hall, marked the 
best of what we tried to give in those first 
days. I knew Harriet Martineau in my 
childhood at Fox How. Well I remember 
going to tea with that tremendous woman 
when I was eight years old; sitting through 
a silent meal, in much awe of her cap, her 
strong face, her ear-trumpet; and then be- 
ing taken away to a neighboring room by a 
kind niece, that I might not disturb her 
further. Once or twice, during my growing 
up, I saw her. She lived only a mile from 
Fox How, and was always on friendly terms 
with my people. Matthew Arnold had a 
true admiration for her sturdy fighter that 
she was in Liberal causes. So had W. E. 
Forster; only he suffered a good deal at her 
hands, as she disapproved of the Education 
Bill, and contrived so to manage her trumpet 

157 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

when he came to see her as to take all the 
argument and give him all the listening! 
When my eldest child was born, a cot-blanket 
arrived, knitted by Miss Martineau's own 
hands the busy hands (soon then to be at 
rest) that wrote the History of the Peace, 
Feats on the Fiord, the Settlers at Home, and 
those excellent biographical sketches of the 
politicians of the Reform and Corn Law 
days in the Daily News, which are still well 
worth reading. 

Between Harriet Martineau and her 
brother James, as many people will remem- 
ber, there arose an unhappy difference in 
middle life which was never mended or 
healed. I never heard him speak of her. 
His standards were high and severe, for all 
the sensitive delicacy of his long, distin- 
guished face and visionary eyes; and neither 
he nor she was of the stuff that allows kin- 
ship to supersede conscience. He published 
a somewhat vehement criticism of a book 
in which she was part author, and she never 
forgave it. And although to me, in the 
University Hall venture, he was gentleness 
and courtesy itself, and though his presence 
seemed to hallow a room directly he entered 
it, one felt always that he was formidable. 
The prophet and the Puritan lay deep in 
him. Yet in his two famous volumes of 

158 



MARCELLA 

Sermons there are tones of an exquisite ten- 
derness and sweetness, together with har- 
monies of prose style, that remind me often 
how he loved music and how his beautiful 
white head might be seen at the Monday 
Popular Concerts, week after week, his 
thinker's brow thrown back to catch the 
finest shades of Joachim's playing. 

The year after David Grieve appeared, Mr. 
Jowett died. His long letter to me on the 
book contained some characteristic passages, 
of which I quote the following: 

I should like to have a good talk with you. 
I seldom get any one to talk on religious subjects. 
It seems to me that the world is growing rather 
tired of German criticism, having got out of it 
nearly all that it is capable of giving. To me it 
appears one of the most hopeful signs of the 
present day that we are coming back to the old, 
old doctrine, "he can't be wrong whose life is 
in the right." Yet this has to be taught in a 
new way, adapted to the wants of the age. 
We must give up doctrine and teach by the lives 
of men, beginning with the life of Christ, instead. 
And the best words of men, beginning with the 
Gospels and the prophets, will be our Bible. 

At the end of the year we spent a week- 
end with him at Balliol, and that was my 
last sight of my dear old friend. The year 
1893 was for me one of illness, and of hard 

159 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

work both in the organization of the new 
Settlement and in the writing of Marcella. 
But that doesn't reconcile me to the recol- 
lection of how little I knew of his failing 
health till, suddenly, in September the news 
reached me that he was lying dangerously 
ill in the house of Sir Robert Wright, in 
Surrey. 

"Every one who waited on him in his 
illness loved him," wrote an old friend of 
his and mine who was with him to the end. 
What were almost his last words "I bless 
God for my life! I bless God for my life!"- 
seemed to bring the noble story of it to a 
triumphant close; and after death he lay 
"with the look of a little child on his face. 
. . . He will live in the hearts of those who 
loved him, as well as in his work." 

He lives indeed; and as we recede farther 
from him the originality and greatness of 
his character will become more and more 
clear to Oxford and to England. The men 
whom he trained are now in the full stream 
of politics and life. His pupils and friends 
are or have been everywhere, and they have 
borne, in whatever vocation, the influence 
of his mind or the mark of his friendship. 
Lord Lansdowne, Mr. Asquith, Lord Jus- 
tice Bowen, Lord Coleridge, Lord Milner, 
Sir Robert Morier, Matthew Arnold, Tenny- 

160 



MARCELLA 

son, Lord Goschen, Miss Nightingale, and 
a hundred others of the nation's leaders 
amid profoundest difference, the memory of 
"the Master" has been for them a common 
and a felt bond. No other religious per- 
sonality of the nineteenth century unless it 
be that of Newman has stood for so much. 
In his very contradictions and inconsisten- 
cies of thought he was the typical man of a 
time beset on all sides by new problems to 
which Jowett knew very well there was no 
intellectual answer; while through the pas- 
sion of his faith in a Divine Life, which 
makes itself known to man, not in miracle 
or mystery, but through the channels of a 
common experience, he has been a kindling 
force in many hearts and minds, and those 
among the most important to England. 
Meanwhile, to these great matters the Jow- 
ettan oddities and idiosyncrasies added just 
that touch of laughter and surprise that 
makes a man loved by his own time and 
arrests the eye and ear of posterity. 



CHAPTER XV 

HELBECK OP BANNISDALE 

'T'HE coming out of Marcella, in April, 
*- 1894, will always mark for me per- 
haps the happiest date in my literary life. 
The book, for all the hard work that had 
gone to it, had none the less been a pleasure 
to write; and the good- will that greeted it 
made the holiday I had earned which again 
was largely spent in Rome a golden time. 
Not long after we left England, " Piccadilly," 
my sister wrote me, was "placarded with 
Marcella," the name appearing on the notice- 
boards of most of the evening papers a 
thing which never happened to me before 
or since; and when we arrived in Rome, the 
content-bills of the London newspapers, dis- 
played in the Piazza di Spagna, announced 
her no less flamingly. The proof-sheets of 
the book had been tried on various friends, 
as usual, with some amusing results. Bishop 
Creighton, with only the first two-thirds of 
the book before him. wrote me denuncia- 
tions of Marcella. 

I am greatly interested in the book and pine 
for the denoument. So far Marcella, though I 

162 



HELBECK OF BANNISDALE 

know her quite well, does not in the least awaken 
my sympathy. She is an intolerable girl but 
there are many of them. ... I only hope that 
she may be made to pay for it. Mr. and Mrs. 
Boyce are good and original, so is Wharton. I 
hope that condign vengeance awaits him. He is 
the modern politician entirely. ... I really hope 
Marcella may be converted. It would serve her 
right to marry her to Wharton; he would beat 
her. 

Another old friend, one of the industrial 
leaders of the north, carried off half the 
proofs to read on his journey to Yorkshire. 

I so ravened on them that I sat still at Bios- 
worth instead of getting out! The consequence 
is that all my plans are disarranged. I shall 
not get to M - in time for my meeting, and 
for all this Marcella is to blame. . . . The 
station-master assured me he called out "Change 
for Northampton," but I was much too deep in 
the scene between Marcella, Lord Maxwell, and 
Raeburn to heed anything belonging to the 
outer world. 

Mr. Goschen wrote: 

I don't know how long it is since I have en- 
joyed reading anything so much. I can't satisfy 
myself as to the physical appearance of Wharton. 
... I do know some men of a character not quite 
unlike him, but they haven't the boyish face 

163 



with curls. Marcella I see before me. Mrs. 
Boyce and Lord Maxwell both interested me 
very much. . . . Alack! I must turn from Mar- 
cella's enthusiasm and aspirations to Sir W. 
Harcourt's speech a great transition. 

And dear Alfred Lyttelton wrote: 

I feel a ridiculous pride in her triumphs which 
I have had the joy of witnessing on every side. 
... At least permit an expert to tell you that 
his heart beat over the ferrets (in the poaching 
scene) and at the intense vividness and truth of 
the legal episodes. 

But there is no one letter in this old 
packet which moves me specially. It was 
on the 1st of March, 1894, that Mr. Glad- 
stone said "Good-by" to his Cabinet in the 
Cabinet room at Downing Street, and a little 
later in the afternoon walked away for the 
last time from the House of Commons. No 
one who has read it will forget the telling of 
that episode, in Mr. Morley's biography, 
with what concentration, what dignity! 
worthy alike of the subject and of the ad- 
mirable man of letters himself an eye-wit- 
ness who records it. 

While Lord Kimberley and Sir William 
Harcourt, on behalf of the rest of their col- 
leagues, were bidding their great chief fare- 
well, "Mr. Gladstone sat composed and still 

164 



HELBECK OF BANNISDALE 

as marble, and the emotion of the Cabinet 
did not gain him for an instant." When 
the spokesmen ceased, he made his own 
little speech of four or five minutes in reply: 
"then hardly above a breath, but every ac- 
cent heard, he said, 'God bless you all.' He 
rose slowly and went out of one door, while 
his colleagues with minds oppressed filed 
out by the other." 

On this moving scene there followed what 
Mr. Gladstone himself described as the first 
period of comparative leisure he had ever 
known, extending to four and a half months. 
They were marked first by increasing blind- 
ness, then by an operation for cataract, and 
finally by a moderate return of sight. In 
July he notes that "during the last months 
of partial incapacity I have not written with 
my own hand probably so much as one letter 
a day." In this faded packet of mine lies 
one of these rare letters, written with his 
own hand a full sheet from Dollis Hill, 
on April 27th. 

When Marcella arrived my thankfulness was 
alloyed with a feeling that the state of my eye- 
sight made your kindness for the time a waste. 
But Mr. Nettleship has since then by an infusion 
supplied a temporary stimulus to the organ, such 
that I have been enabled to begin, and am read- 
ing the work with great pleasure and an agreeable 

ii. 12 165 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

sense of congeniality which I do not doubt I 
shall retain to the close. 

Then he describes a book a novel deal- 
ing with religious controversy, which he had 
lately been reading, in which every character 
embodying views opposed to those of the 
author "is exhibited as odious." With this 
he warmly contrasts the method and spirit 
of David Grieve, and then continues: 

Well, I have by my resignation passed into a 
new state of existence. And in that state I 
shall be very glad when our respective stars may 
cause our paths to meet. I am full of prospec- 
tive work; but for the present a tenacious in- 
fluenza greatly cripples me and prevents my 
making any definite arrangement for an expected 
operation on my eye. 

Eighty-five! greatly crippled by influenza 
and blindness yet "full of prospective 
work"! The following year, remembering 
Robert Elsmere days, and a propos of certain 
passages in his review of that book, I vent- 
ured to send him an Introduction I had con- 
tributed to my brother-in-law Leonard Hux- 
ley's translation of Hausrath's New Testament 
Times. This time the well-known hand- 
writing is feebler and the old "fighter" is 
not roused. He puts discussion by, and 
turns instead to kind words about a near rela- 

166 



HELBECK OF BANNISDALE 

tive of my own who had been winning dis- 
tinctions at Oxford. 

It is one of the most legitimate interests of the 
old to watch with hope and joy these opening 
lives, and it has the secondary effect of whisper- 
ing to them that they are not yet wholly frozen 
up. ... I am busy as far as my limited powers of 
exertion allow upon a new edition of Bishop 
Butler's Works, which costs me a good deal of 
labor and leaves me, after a few hours upon it, 
good for very little else. And my perspective, 
dubious as it is, is filled with other work, in the 
Homeric region lying beyond. I hope it will 
be very long before you know anything of com- 
pulsory limitations on the exercise of your 
powers. Believe me always, 

Sincerely yours, 

W. E. GLADSTONE. 

But it was not till 1897, as he himself 
records, that the indomitable spirit so far 
yielded to these limitations as to resign 
or rather contemplate resigning the second 
great task of which he had spoken to me at 
Oxford, nine years before. "I have begun 
seriously to ask myself whether I shall ever 
be able to face The Olympian Religion. 1 ' 

It was, I think, in the winter of 1895 that 
I saw him for the last time at our neigh- 
bors', the Rothschilds, at Tring Park. He 
was then full of animation and talk, mainly 

167 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

of things political, and, indeed, not long be- 
fore he had addressed a meeting at Chester 
on the Turkish massacres in Armenia, and 
was still to address a large audience at 
Liverpool on the same subject his last pub- 
lic appearance a year later. When George 
Tressady appeared he sent me a message 
through Mrs. Drew that he feared George 
Tressady 's Parliamentary conduct "was in- 
conceivable in a man of honor"; and I was 
only comforted by the emphatic and laugh- 
ing dissent of Lord Peel, to whom I repeated 
the verdict. " Nothing of the kind! But of 
course he was thinking of us the Liberal 
Unionists." 

Then came the last months when, amid a 
world's sympathy and reverence, the great 
life, in weariness and pain, wore to its end. 
The "lying in state" in Westminster Hall 
seemed to me ill arranged. But the burying 
remains with me as one of those perfect 
things, which only the Anglican Church at 
its best, in combination with the immemorial 
associations of English history, can achieve. 
After it, I wrote to my son: 

I have now seen four great funerals in the 
Abbey Darwin, Browning, Tennyson, and the 
funeral service for Uncle Forster, which was very 
striking, too. But no one above forty of those 
in the Abbey yesterday will ever see the like 

168 



HELBECK OF BANNISDALE 

again. It was as beautiful and noble as the 
" lying in state" was disappointing and ugly. 
The music was exquisite, and fitting in every 
respect; and when the high sentence rang out, 
"and their name liveth for evermore," the effect 
was marvelous. One seemed to hear the voice of 
the future already pealing through the Abbey 
as though the verdict were secured, the judgment 
given. 

We saw it all, admirably, from the Muniment 
Room, which is a sort of lower Triforium above 
the south Transept. To me, perhaps, the most 
thrilling moment was when, bending forward, 
one saw the white-covered coffin disappear amid 
the black crowd round it, and knew that it had 
sunk forever into its deep grave, amid that same 
primeval clay of Thorny Island on which Ed- 
ward's Minister was first reared and the Red 
King built his hall of judgment and Council. 
The statue of Dizzy looked down on him "So 
you have come at last!" and all the other 
statues on either side seemed to welcome and 
receive him. . . . The sloping seats for Lords 
and Commons filled the transepts, a great black 
mass against the jeweled windows, the Lords 
on one side, the Commons on the other; in 
front of each black multitude was the glitter of a 
mace, and in the hollow between, the whiteness 
of the pall perhaps you can fancy it so. 

But the impetus of memory has carried 
me on too fast. There are some other fig- 
ures and scenes to be gathered from these 

169 



years 1893-98 that may still interest 
this present day. Of the most varied kind! 
For, as I turn over letters and memoranda, 
a jumble of recollections passes through my 
mind. Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, on 
the one hand, a melancholy, kindly man, 
amid the splendors of Waddesden; a meeting 
of the Social Democratic Federation in a 
cellar in Lisson Grove; days of absorbing in- 
terest in the Jewish East End, and in 
sweaters' workships, while George Tressady 
was in writing; a first visit to Mentmore 
while Lady Rosebery was alive; a talk with 
Lord Rosebery some time after her death, 
in a corner of a local ball-room, while Hel- 
beck was shaping itself about the old Catholic 
families of England, which revealed to me 
yet another and unsuspected vein of knowl- 
edge in one of the best furnished of minds; 
the Asquith marriage in 1894; new acquaint- 
ances and experiences in Lancashire towns, 
again connected with George Tressady, and 
in which I was helped by that brilliant wri- 
ter, worker, and fighter, Mrs. Sidney Webb; 
a nascent friendship with Sir William Har- 
court, one of the most racy of all possible 
companions; happy evenings in the Tadema 
and Richmond studios with music and good 
talk; occasional meetings with and letters 
from " Pater," the dear and famous Professor, 

170 



HELBECK OF BANNISDALE 

who, like my uncle, fought half the world 
and scarcely made an enemy; visits to 
Oxford and old friends such are the scenes 
and persons that come back to me as I 
read old letters, while all through it ran 
the continual strain of hard literary work 
mingled with the new social and religious 
interests which the foundation of the Pass- 
more Edwards Settlement had brought me. 

We have been at Margot Tennant's wedding 
to-day [I wrote to my son on May 10, 1894] 
a great function, very tiring, but very brilliant 
and amusing occasionally dramatic, too, as, 
when after the service had begun, the sound of 
cheering in the street outside drowned the voice 
of the Bishop of Rochester, and warned us that 
Mr. Gladstone was arriving. Afterward at the 
house we shook hands with three Cabinet 
Ministers on the door-step, and there were all 
the rest of them inside! The bride carried her- 
self beautifully and was as composed and fresh 
as though it were any ordinary party. From 
our seat in the church one saw the interior of the 
vestry and Mr. Gladstone's white head against 
the window as he sat to sign the register; and 
the greeting between him and Mr. Balfour when 
he had done. 

This was written while Lord Rosebery was 
Prime Minister and Mr. Balfour, still free, 
until the following year, from the trammels 

171 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

of office, was finishing his brilliant Founda- 
tions of Belief, which came out in 1895. In 
acknowledging the copy which he sent me, 
I ventured to write some pages on behalf of 
certain arguments of the Higher Criticism 
which seemed to me to deserve a fuller treat- 
ment than Mr. Balfour had been willing to 
give them in defense also of our English 
idealists, such as Green and Caird, in their 
relation to orthodoxy. A year or two earlier 
I find I had been breaking a lance on behalf 
of the same school of writers with a very 
different opponent. In the controversy be- 
tween Professor Huxley and Doctor Wace, in 
1889, which opened with the famous article 
on "The Gadarene Swine," the Professor 
had welcomed me as an ally, because of 
"The New Reformation/' which appeared 
much about the same time; and the word of 
praise in which he compared my reply to 
Mr. Gladstone, to the work "of a strong 
housemaid brushing away cobwebs," gave 
me a fearful joy! I well remember a thrilling 
moment in the Russell Square drawing-room 
in 1889, when "Pater" and I were in full 
talk, he in his raciest and most amusing form, 
and suddenly the door opened, and "Doctor 
Wace" was announced the opponent with 
whom at that moment he was grappling his 

hardest in the Nineteenth Century. Huxley 

172 



HELBECK OF BANNISDALE 

gave me a merry look and then how per- 
fectly they both behaved! I really think 
the meeting was a pleasure to both of them, 
and when my old chief in the Dictionary of 
Christian Biography took his departure, Hux- 
ley found all kinds of pleasant personal 
things to say about him. 

But the Professor and I were not always at 
one. Caird and Green and, for other rea- 
sons, Martineau were to me names "of 
great pith and moment," and Christian 
Theism was a reasonable faith. And Huxley, 
in controversy, was no more kind to my 
sacra than to other people's. Once I dared a 
mild remonstrance in 1892 only to pro- 
voke one of his most vigorous replies: 

MY DEAR M. Thanks for your pleasant letter. 
I do not know whether I like the praise or the 
scolding better. They, like pastry, need to be 
done with a light hand especially praise and 
I have swallowed all yours, and feel it thoroughly 
agrees with me. 

As to the scolding I am going to defend my- 
self tooth and nail. In the first place, by all 
my Gods and No Gods, neither Green, nor 
Martineau, nor the Cairds were in my mind 
when I talked of "Sentimental Deism," but the 
"Vicaire Savoyard," and Channing, and such 
as Voysey. There are two chapters of "Rous- 
seauism," I have not touched yet Rousseauism 

173 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

in Theology, and Rousseauism in Education. 
When I write the former I shall try to show 
that the people of whom I speak as "sentimental 
deists" are the lineal descendants of the Vicaire 
Savoyard. I was a great reader of Charming in 
my boyhood, and was much taken in by his 
theosophic confectionery. At present I have as 
much (intellectual) antipathy to him as St. John 
had to the Nicolaitans. 

. . . Green I know only from his Introduction 
to Hume which reminds me of nothing so much 
as a man with a hammer and chisel knocking 
out bits of bad stone hi the Great Pyramid, with 
the view of bringing it down. ... As to Caird's 
Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, I will 
get it and study it. But as a rule "Philosophies 
of Religion" in my experience turn out to be 
only "Religions of Philosophers" quite another 
business, as you will admit. 

And if you please, Ma'am, I wish to add that 
I think I am not without sympathy for Christian 
feeling or rather for what you mean by it. 
Beneath the cooled logical upper strata of my 
microcosm there is a fused mass of prophetism 
and mysticism, and the Lord knows what might 
happen to me, in case a moral earthquake cracked 
the superincumbent deposit, and permitted an 
eruption of the demonic element below. . . . 
Luckily I am near 70, and not a G. O. M. so 
the danger is slight. 

One must stick to one's trade. It is my busi- 
ness to the best of my ability to fight for scientific 

174 



HELBECK OF BANNISDALE 

clearness that is what the world lacks. Feeling 
Christian or other, is superabundant. . . . 
Ever yours affectionately, 
T. H. HUXLEY. 

A few more letters from him racy, and 
living as himself and then in 1895, just af- 
ter his first article on the "Foundations of 
Belief," we heard with dismay of the illness 
which killed him. There was never a man 
more beloved more deeply mourned. 

The autumn of 1896 brought me a great 
loss in the death of an intimate friend, Lady 
Wemyss as marked a personality in her 
own circle as was her indomitable husband, 
the famous Lord Elcho, of the Volunteer 
movement, on the bigger stage. It was at 
Balliol, at the Master's table, and in the 
early Oxford days, that we first made friends 
with Lord and Lady Wemyss, who were 
staying with the Master for the Sunday. I 
was sitting next to Lord Wemyss, and he 
presently discovered that I was absent- 
minded. And I found him so attractive and 
so human that I soon told him why. I had 
left a sick child at home, with a high tempera- 
ture, and was fidgeting to get back to him. 

"What is the matter? Fever? throat? 
Aconite, of course! You're a homeopath, 
aren't you? All sensible people are. Look 
here I've got a servant with me. I'll send 

175 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

him with some aconite at once. Where do 
you live? in the Parks? All right. Give 
me your address." 

Out came an envelope and a pencil. A 
message was sent round the dinner-table to 
Lady Wemyss, whose powerful dreaming face 
beside the Master lit up at once. The 
aconite was sent; the child's temperature 
went down; and, if I remember right, either 
one or both of his new medical advisers 
walked up to the Parks the next day to in- 
quire for him. So began a friendship which 
for just twenty years, especially from about 
1885 to 1896, meant a great deal to me. 

How shall I describe Lady Wemyss? An 
unfriendly critic has recently allowed me the 
power of "interesting fashionable ladies in 
things of the mind." Was Lady Wemyss a 
" fashionable lady"? She was the wife, cer- 
tainly, of a man of high rank and great 
possessions; but I met her first as a friend 
a dear and intimate friend, as may be seen 
from his correspondence of Mr. Jowett's; 
and Mr. Jowett was not very tolerant of 
"fashionable ladies." She was in reality a 
strong and very simple person, with a natural 
charm working through a very reserved and 
often harsh manner, like the charm of moun- 
tain places in spring. She was a Conserva- 
tive, and I suppose an aristocrat, whatever 

176 



HELBECK OF BANNISDALE 

that word may mean. She thought the 
Harcourt death-duties "terrible" because 
they broke up old families and old estates, 
and she had been brought up to think that 
both were useful. Yet I never knew any- 
body with a more instinctive passion for 
equality. This means that she was simply 
and deeply interested in all sorts of human 
beings and all sorts of human lots; also 
that, although she was often self-conscious, 
it was the self-consciousness one sees in the 
thoughtful and richly natured young, whose 
growth in thought or character has outrun 
their means of expression, and never mean 
or egotistical. Her deep voice; her fine, 
marked features; and the sudden play of 
humor, silent, self-restrained, yet most in- 
fectious to the bystander, that would lighten 
through them; her stately ways; and yet, 
withal, her childlike love of loving and being 
loved by the few to whom she gave her 
deepest affection in some such phrases one 
tries to describe her; but they go a very little 
way. 

I can see her now at the dinner-table at 
Gosford, sardonically watching a real "fash- 
ionable lady" who had arrived in the after- 
noon and was sitting next Lord Wemyss at 
the farther end with a wonderful frizzled 
head, an infinitesimal waist sheathed in white 

177 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

muslin and blue ribbons, rouged cheeks, a 
marvelous concatenation of jewels, and a 
caressing, gesticulating manner meant, at 
fifty, to suggest the ways of " sweet and 
twenty." The frizzled head drew nearer and 
nearer to Lord Wemyss, the fingers flourished 
and pointed; and suddenly I heard Lady 
Wemyss's deep voice, meditatively amused, 
beside me: 

"Her fingers will be in Frank's eyes soon!" 
Or again, I see her, stalled beneath the 
drawing-room table, on all-fours, by her 
imperious grandchildren, patiently playing 
"horse" or "cow," till her scandalized daugh- 
ter-in-law discovered her and ran to her re- 
lease. Or in her last illness, turning her no- 
ble head and faint, welcoming smile to the 
few friends that were admitted; and finally, 
in the splendid rest after death, when those 
of us who had not known her in youth 
could guess what the beauty of her youth 
had been. 

She was an omnivorous and most intelli- 
gent reader, and a friend that never failed. 
Matthew Arnold was very fond of her, and 
she of him; Laura Lyttelton, who was nearly 
forty years her junior, loved her dearly and 
never felt the bar of years; the Master owed 
much to her affection, and gratefully ac- 
knowledged it. The Commonplace Book, 

178 



HELBECK OF BANNISDALE 

privately printed after her death, showed 
the range of interests which had played upon 
her fresh and energetic mind. It was un- 
trained, I suppose, compared to the woman 
graduate of to-day. But it was far less tired ; 
and all its adventures were of its own 
seeking. 

It was in 1896, not long after the appear- 
ance of George Tressady, that a conversation 
in a house on the outskirts of the Lakes sug- 
gested to me the main plot of Helbeck of 
Bannisdale. The talk turned on the fortunes 
of that interesting old place, Sizergh Castle, 
near Kendal, and of the Catholic family to 
whom it then still belonged, though mort- 
gages and lack of pence were threatening 
imminently to submerge an ancient stock 
that had held it unbrokenly, from father to 
son, through many generations. 

The relation between such a family- 
pinched and obscure, yet with its own proud 
record, and inherited consciousness of an un- 
broken loyalty to a once persecuted faith 
and this modern world of ours struck me as 
an admirable subject for a novel. I thought 
about it next day, all through a long railway 
journey from Kendal to London, and by the 
time I reached Euston the plot of Helbeck of 
Bannisdale was more or less clear to me. 

I confided it to Lord Acton a little while 

179 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

afterward. We discussed it, and he cordially 
encouraged me to work it out. Then I con- 
sulted my father, my Catholic father, without 
whose assent I should never have written the 
book at all; and he raised no difficulty. So 
I only had to begin. 

But I wanted a setting somewhere in the 
border country between the Lakes mountains 
and Morecambe Bay. And here another 
piece of good luck befell, almost equal to 
that which had carried us to Hampden for 
the summer of 1889. Levens Hall, it ap- 
peared, was to be let for the spring the 
famous Elizabethan house, five miles from 
Kendal, and about a mile from Sizergh. I 
had already seen Levens; and we took the 
chance at once. 

Bannisdale in the novel is a combination, 
I suppose, of Sizergh and Levens. The two 
houses, though of much the same date, are 
really very different, and suggest phases of 
life quite distinct from each other. Levens 
compared to Sizergh is or was then, before 
the modern restoration of Sizergh the 
spoiled beauty beside the shabby ascetic. 
Levens has always been cared for and lived 
in by people who had money to spend upon 
the house and garden they loved, and the 
result is a wonderful example of Elizabethan 
and Jacobean decoration, mellowed by time 

180 



HELBECK OF BANNISDALE 

into a perfect whole. Yet, for my purposes, 
there was always Sizergh, close by, with its 
austere suggestions of sacrifice and suffering 
under the penal laws, borne without flinching 
by a long succession of quiet, simple, undis- 
tinguished people. 

We arrived there in March, 1897. The 
house greeted us on a clear and chilly evening 
under the mingled light of a frosty sunset, 
and the blaze of wood fires which had been 
lit everywhere to warm its new guests. 

At last we arrived saw the wonderful gray 
house rising above the river in the evening light, 

found G waiting at the open door for us, and 

plunged into the hall, the sitting-rooms, and all 
the intricacies of the upper passages and turrets 
with the delight and curiosity of a pack of 
children. Wood and peat fires were burning 
everywhere; the great chimneypieces in the 
drawing-room, the arms of Elizabeth over the 
hall fire, the stucco birds and beasts running 
round the Hall, showed dimly in the scanty 
lamplight (we shall want about six more lamps!) 
and the beauty of the marvelous old place 
took us all by storm. Then through endless 
passages and kitchens, bright with long rows of 
copper pans and molds, we made our way out 
into the gardens among the clipped yews and 
cedars, and had just light enough to see that 
Levens apparently is like nothing else but itself. 

H.-13 181 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

. . . The drawback of the house at present is 
certainly the cold! 

Thus began a happy and fruitful time. 
We managed to get warm in spite of a 
treacherous and tardy spring. Guests came 
to stay with us Henry James, above all; 
the Creightons, he then in the first months of 
that remarkable London episcopate, which 
in four short years did so much to raise the 
name and fame of the Anglican Church in 
London, at least for the lay mind; the 
Neville Lytteltons, who had been since 1893 
our summer neighbors at Stocks; Lord 
Lytton, then at Cambridge; the Sydney 
Buxtons; old Oxford friends, and many 
kinsfolk. The damson blossom along the 
hedgerows that makes of these northern vales 
in April a glistening network of white and 
green, the daffodils and violets, the lilies-of- 
the-valley in the Brigsteer woods came and 
went, the Helbeck made steady progress. 

But we left Levens in May, and it took me 
another eight months to finish the book. 
Except perhaps in the case of Bessie Costrell, 
I was never more possessed by a subject, 
more shut in by it from the outer world. 
And, though its contemporary success was 
nothing like so great as that of most of my 
other books, the response it evoked, as my 

182 



HELBECK OF BANNISDALE 

letters show, in those to whom the book 
appealed, was deep and passionate. 

My first anxiety was as to my father, 
and after we had left England for abroad I 
was seized with misgivings lest certain pas- 
sages in the talk of Doctor Friedland, who, 
it will perhaps be remembered, is made the 
spokesman in the book of certain points in 
the intellectual case against Catholicism, 
should wound or distress him. I, therefore, 
no sooner reached Italy than I sent for the 
proofs again, and worked at them as much 
as fatigue would let me, softening them, 
and, I think, improving them, too. Then 
we went on to Florence, and rest, coming 
home for the book's publication in June. 

The joy and emotion of it were great. 
George Meredith, J. M. Barrie, Paul Bour- 
get, and Henry James the men who at that 
time stood at the head of my own art 
gave the book a welcome that I can never 
forget. George Meredith wrote: 

Your Helbeck of Bannisdale held me firmly in 
the reading and remains with me. ... If I felt 
a monotony during the struggle, it came of your 
being faithful to your theme rapt or you 
would not have had such power over your reader. 
I know not another book that shows the classic 
so distinctly to view. . . . Yet a word of thanks 

183 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

for Doctor Friedland. He is the voice of spring 
in the book. 

J. M. Barrie's generous, enthusiastic note 
delights and inspires me again as I read it 
over. Mr. Morley, my old editor and critic, 
wrote: "I find it intensely interesting and 
with all the elements of beauty, power, and 
pathos." For Leslie Stephen, with whom I 
had only lately made warm and close 
friends, I had a copy bound, without the 
final chapter, that the book might not, by 
its tragic close, depress one who had known 
so much sorrow. Sir Alfred Lyall thought 
"the story reaches a higher pitch of vigor 
and dramatic presentation than is to be 
found even in your later books"; while 
Lord Halifax's letter "how lovable they 
both are, each in his way, and how true to 
the ideal on both sides!" and others, from 
Mr. Godkin, of the American Nation, from 
Frederic Harrison, Lord Goschen, Lord Duf- 
ferin, and many, many more, produced in 
me that curious mood which for the artist 
is much nearer dread than boasting dread 
that the best is over and that one will never 
earn such sympathy again. One letter not 
written to myself, from Mr. George Wynd- 
ham to Mr. Wilfred Ward, I have asked 
leave to print as a piece of independent 
criticism: 

184 



HELBECK OF BANNISDALE 

On Sunday I read Helbeck of Bannisdale, and I 
confess that the book moved me a great deal. 
It is her best book. It is a true tragedy, because 
the crash is inevitable. This is not so easy to 
effect hi Art as many suppose. There are very 
few characters and situations which lead to 
inevitable crashes. It is a thousand to one that 
a woman who thinks she ought not to marry a 
man, but loves him passionately, will, in fact, 
marry him. She will either discover an ingenious 
way out of her woods or else just shut her eyes 
and "go it blind," relying on his strength and 
feeling that it is really right to relinquish to him 
her sense of responsibility. In choosing a girl 
with nothing left her hi the world but loyalty 
to a dead father and memory of his attitude 
toward religion, without knowledge of his argu- 
ments for that attitude, I think that Mrs. Ward 
has hit on the only possible persona. Had 
Laura, herself, been a convinced rationalist, or 
had her father been still alive, she would have 
merged herself and her attitude in Helbeck' s 
strength of character. Being a work of art, self- 
consistent and inevitable, the book becomes 
symbolic. It is a picture of incompatibility, but, 
being a true picture, it is a symbolic index to the 
incompatible which plays so large a part in the 
experience of man. 

For the rest, I remember vividly the happy 
holiday of that summer at Stocks; the sense 
of having come through a great wrestle, and 

185 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

finding everything my children, the garden, 
my little Huxley nephews, books and talk, 
the Settlement where we were just about to 
open our Cripple School, and all else in life, 
steeped in a special glamour. It faded soon, 
no doubt, "into the light of common day"; 
but if I shut my thoughts and eyes against 
the troubles of these dark hours of war, I can 
feel my way back into the "wind-warm 
space" and look into the faces that earth 
knows no more my father, Leslie Stephen, 
Alfred Lyall, Mr. Goschen, Alfred Lyttelton, 
H. 0. Arnold-Forster, my sister, Julia Hux- 
ley, my eldest brother a vanished company! 

And in the following year, to complete 
the story, I owed to Helbeck a striking and 
unexpected hour. A message reached me in 
November, 1898, to the effect that the Em- 
press Frederick, who had just arrived at 
Windsor, admired the book and would like 
to see the writer of it. 

A tragic figure at that moment the Em- 
press Frederick! That splendid Crown 
Prince, in his white uniform, whom we had 
seen at Schwalbach in 1872, had finished 
early in 1890 with his phantom reign and 
tortured life, and his son reigned in his stead. 
Bismarck, "the Englishwoman's" implaca- 
ble enemy, had died some four months before 
I saw the Empress, after eight years' exclu- 

186 



HELBECK OF BANNISDALE 

sion from power. The Empress herself was 
on the verge of the terrible illness which 
killed her two years later. To me her life 
and personality or, rather, the little I knew 
of them had always been very interesting. 
She had, of course, the reputation of being 
the ablest of her family, and the bitterness 
of her sudden and irreparable defeat at the 
hands of Fate and her son, in 1889-90, had 
often struck me as one of the grimmest stories 
in history. One incident in it, not, I think, 
very generally known, I happened to hear 
from an eye-witness of the scene, before 1898. 
It was as follows: 

The Empress Frederick in the midst of 
the Bismarck crisis of March, 1890, when it 
was evident that the young Emperor William 
II was bent on getting rid of his Chancellor, 
and so " dropping the pilot" of his House, 
was sitting at home one afternoon, with the 
companion from whom I heard the story, 
when a servant, looking a good deal scared, 
announced that Prince Bismarck had called 
and wished to know whether her Majesty 
would receive him. 

" Prince Bismarck!" said the Empress, in 
amazement. She had probably not seen him 
since the death of her husband, and rela- 
tions between herself and him had been no 
more than official for years. Turning to her 

187 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

companion, she said, "What can he possibly 
want with me!" 

She consented, however, to receive him, 
and the old Prince, agitated and hollow- 
eyed, made his appearance. He had come, 
as a last hope of placating the new Kaiser, 
to ask the Empress to use what influence 
she could on his behalf with her son. The 
Empress listened in growing astonishment. 
At the end there was a short silence. Then 
she said, with emotion: "I am sorry! You, 
yourself, Prince Bismarck, have destroyed all 
my influence with my son. I can do nothing." 

In a sense, it must have been a moment of 
triumph. But how tragic are all the implica- 
tions of the story! It was in my mind as I 
traveled to Windsor on November 18, 1898. 
The following letter was written next day 
to one of my children: 

D and I met at Windsor, and we mounted 

into the quadrangle, stopped at the third door 
on the right as Mrs. M had directed us, in- 
terviewed various gorgeous footmen, and were 

soon in Mrs. M 's little sitting-room. Then 

we found we should have some little time to 
wait, as the Empress was just going out with 
the Queen and would see me at a quarter to 1. 
So we waited, much amused by the talk around 
us. (It turned, if I remember right, on a certain 
German Princess, who had arrived a day or two 

188 



HELBECK OF BANNISDALE 

before as the old Queen's guest, and had been 
taken since her arrival on such a strenuous round 
of tombs and mausoleums that, hearing on this 
particular morning that the Queen proposed to 
take her in the afternoon to see yet another 
mausoleum, she had stubbornly refused to get 
up. She had a headache, she said, and would 
stay in bed. But the ladies in waiting, with fits 
of laughter, described how the Queen had at 
once ordered her phenacetin, and how there was 
really no chance at all for the poor lady. The 
Queen would get her way, and the departed 
would be duly honored headache or no head- 
ache. As indeed it turned out.) 

Presently we saw the Queen's little pony-car- 
riage pass along beyond the windows with the 
Empress Frederick, and the Grand Duke and 
Duchess Serge walking beside it, and the Indians 
behind. Then in a little while the Empress 
Frederick came hurrying back alone, and almost 
directly came my summons. Countess Perpon- 
cher, her lady hi waiting, took me up through 
the Long Corridor, past the entrance to the 
Queen's rooms on one side, and Gordon's Bible, 
in its glass case, on the other, till we turned to 
the left, and I was in a small sitting-room, where 
a lady, gray-haired and in black, came forward 
to meet me. . . . We talked for about 50 min- 
utes: of German books and Universities 
Harnack Renan, for whom she had the greatest 
admiration Strauss, of whom she told me vari- 
ous interesting things German colonies, that 

189 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

she thought were "all nonsense" Dreyfus, who 
in her eyes is certainly innocent reaction hi 
France the difference between the Greek Church 
in Russia and the Greek Church in Greece, 
the hopes of Greece, and the freeing of Crete. 
It is evident that her whole heart is with Greece 
and her daughter there [the young Queen Sophia, 
on whose character recently deciphered docu- 
ments have thrown so strong a light], and she 
spoke bitterly, as she always does, about the 
English hanging-back, and the dawdling of the 
European Concert. Then she described how 
she read George Tressady aloud to her in- 
valid daughter till the daughter begged her to 
stop, lest she should cry over it all night 
she said charming things of Helbeck, talked 
of Italy, D'Annunzio, quoted "my dear old 
friend Minghetti" as to the fundamental pagan- 
ism in the Italian mind, asked me to write my 
name in her book, and to come and see her in 
Berlin and it was tune to go. ... She is a 
very attractive, sensitive, impulsive woman, 
more charming than I had imagined, and, per- 
haps, less intellectual altogether the very- 
woman to set up the backs of Bismarck and his 
like. Never was there a more thorough English- 
woman! I found myself constantly getting her 
out of focus, by that confusion of mind which 
made one think of her as German. 

And to my father I wrote: 
The Empress began by asking after Uncle 
Matt, and nothing could have been kinder and 

190 



HELBECK OF BANNISDALE 

more sympathetic than her whole manner. But 
of course Bismarck hated her. She is absolutely 
English, parliamentary, and anti-despotic. . . . 
When I ventured to say in bidding her Good-by, 
that I had often felt great admiration and deep 
sympathy for her, which is true she threw up 
her hands with a little sad or bitter gesture 
"Oh! admiration! for me/" as if she knew 
very well what it was to be conscious of the 
reverse. A touching, intelligent, impulsive wom- 
an, she seemed to me no doubt often not a wise 
one but very attractive. 

Nineteen years ago! And two years later, 
after long suffering, like her husband, the 
last silence fell on this brave and stormy 
nature. Let us thank God for it as we look 
out upon Europe and see what her son has 
made of it. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE VILLA BARBERINI. HENRY JAMES 

i 

IT was in the summer of 1898 that some 
* suggestions gathered from the love-story 
of Chateaubriand and Madame de Beau- 
mont, and jotted down on a sheet of note- 
paper, led to the writing of Eleanor. Madame 
de Beaumont's melancholy life came to an 
end in Rome, and the Roman setting im- 
posed itself, so to speak, at once. But to 
write in Rome itself, played upon by all the 
influences of a place where the currents of 
life and thought, so far as those currents are 
political, historical, or artistic, seem to be 
running at double tides, would be, I knew, 
impossible, and we began to make inquiries 
for a place outside Rome, yet not too far 
away, where we might spend the spring. 
We tried to get an apartment at Frascati, 
but in vain. Then some friend suggested an 
apartment in the old Villa Barberini at Castel 
Gandolfo, well known to many an English 
and French diplomat, especially to the dip- 
lomat's wife and children, flying to the hills 
to escape the summer heat of Rome. We 
found by correspondence two kind little 

192 



THE VILLA BARBERINI. HENRY JAMES 

ladies living in Rome, who agreed to make 
all the preparations for us, find servants, 
and provide against a possibly cold spring 
to be spent in rooms meant only for villegia- 
tura in the summer. We were to go early 
in March, and fires or stoves must be ob- 
tainable, if the weather pinched. 

The little ladies did everything engaged 
servants, and bargained with the Barberini 
Steward, but they could not bargain with the 
weather! On a certain March day when the 
snow lay thick on the olives, and all the furies 
were wailing round the Alban hills we 
arrived. My husband, who had journeyed 
out with us to settle us in, and was then 
returning to his London work, was inclined 
to mocking prophecies that I should soon be 
back in Rome at a comfortable hotel. Oh, 
how cold it was that first night ! how dreary 
on the great stone staircase, and in the bare, 
comfortless rooms! We looked out over a 
gray storm-swept Campagna, to a distant line 
of surf -beaten coast; the kitchen was fifty- 
two steps below the dining-room; the Nea- 
politan cook seemed to us a most formidable 
gentleman, suggesting stilettos, and we sat 
down to our first meal wondering whether 
we could possibly stay it out. 

But with the night (as I wrote some years ago) 
the snow vanished and the sun emerged. We 

193 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

ran east to one balcony, and saw the light blaz- 
ing on the Alban lake, and had but to cross the 
apartment 'to find ourselves, on the other side, 
with all the Campagna at our feet, sparkling in 
a thousand colors to the sea. And outside was 
the garden, with its lemon-trees growing in vast 
jars like the jars of Knossos but marked with 
Barberini bees; its white and red camellias be- 
carpeting the soft grass with their fallen petals; 
its dark and tragic recesses where melancholy 
trees hung above piled fragments of the great 
Domitian villa whose ruins lay everywhere be- 
neath our feet; its olive gardens sloping to the 
west, and open to the sun, open, too, to white, 
nibbling goats, and wandering bambini; its 
magical glimpse of St. Peter's to the north, 
through a notch in a group of stone-pines; and, 
last and best, its marvelous terrace that roofed 
a crypto-porticus of the old villa, whence the 
whole vast landscape, from Ostia and the moun- 
tains of Viterbo to the Circsean promontory, 
might be discerned, where one might sit and 
watch the sunsets burn in scarlet and purple 
down through the wide west into the shining 
bosom of the Tyrrhenian sea. 

And in one day we had made a home out 
of what seemed a desert. Books had been 
unpacked, flowers had been brought in, the 
stoves were made to burn, the hard chairs 
and sofas had been twisted and turned into 
something more human and sociable, and we 

194 



THE VILLA BARBERINI. HENRY JAMES 

had begun to realize that we were, after all, 
singularly fortunate mortals, put in posses- 
sion for three months at the most moderate 
of rents! of as much Italian beauty, an- 
tiquity, and romance as any covetous soul 
could hope for with Rome at our gates, 
and leisurely time for quiet work. 

Our earliest guest was Henry James, and 
never did I see Henry James in a happier 
light. A new light, too. For here, in this 
Italian country, and in the Eternal City, the 
man whom I had so far mainly known as a 
Londoner was far more at home than I; and 
I realized, perhaps more fully than ever be- 
fore, the extraordinary range of his knowledge 
and sympathies. 

Roman history and antiquities, Italian art, 
Renaissance sculpture, the personalities and 
events of the Risorgimento, all these solid 
connaissances and many more, were to be 
recognized perpetually as rich elements in 
the general wealth of Mr. James's mind. 
That he had read immensely, observed im- 
mensely, talked immensely, became once 
more gradually and delightfully clear on this 
new field. That he spoke French to perfec- 
tion was of course quickly evident to any 
one who had even a slight acquaintance with 
him. M. Bourget once gave me a wonderful 
illustration of it. He said that Mr. James 

195 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

was staying with himself and Madame Bour- 
get at their villa at Hydres, not long after 
the appearance of Kipling's " Seven Seas." 
M. Bourget, who by that time read and 
spoke English fluently, complained of Mr. 
Kipling's technicalities, 'and declared that he 
could not make head or tail of McAndrew's 
Hymn. Whereupon Mr. James took up the 
book and, standing by the fire, fronting his 
hosts, there and then put McAndrew's Hymn 
into vigorous idiomatic French an extraor- 
dinary feat, as it seemed to M. Bourget. 
Something similar, it will be remembered, is 
told of Tennyson. "One evening," says F. 
T. Palgrave of the poet, "he read out, off- 
hand, Pindar's great picture of the life of 
Heaven, in the Second Olympian, into pure 
modern prose splendidly lucid and musical." 
Let who will decide which tour de force was 
the more difficult. 

But Mr. James was also very much at 
home in Italian, while in the literature, his- 
tory, and art of both countries he moved with 
the well-earned sureness of foot of the stu- 
dent. Yet how little one ever thought of 
him as a student! That was the spell. He 
wore his learning and in certain directions 
he was learned "lightly, like a flower." It 
was to him not a burden to be carried, not 
a possession to be proud of, but merely some- 

196 



THE VILLA BARBERINI. HENRY JAMES 

thing that made life more thrilling, more full 
of emotions and sensations emotions and 
sensations which he was always eager, with- 
out a touch of pedantry, to share with other 
people. His knowledge was conveyed by 
suggestion, by the adroitest of hints and 
indirect approaches. He was politely cer- 
tain, to begin with, that you knew it all; 
then to walk with you round and round the 
subject, turning it inside out, playing with 
it, making mock of it, and catching it again 
with a sudden grip, or a momentary flash of 
eloquence, seemed to be for the moment his 
business in life. How the thing emerged, 
after a few minutes, from the long involved 
sentences! only involved because the im- 
pressions of a man of genius are so many, 
and the resources of speech so limited. This 
involution, this deliberation in attack, this 
slowness of approach toward a point which 
in the end was generally triumphantly rushed, 
always seemed to me more effective as Mr. 
James used it in speech than as he em- 
ployed it some of us would say, to excess 
in a few of his latest books. For, in talk, 
his own living personality his flashes of 
fun of courtesy of " chaff" were always 
there, to do away with what, in the written 
word, became a difficult strain on attention. 
I remember an amusing instance of it, 

- 197 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

when my daughter D , who was house- 
keeping for us at Castel Gandolfo, asked his 
opinion as to how to deal with the Neapolitan 
cook, who had been anything but satisfac- 
tory, in the case of a luncheon-party of friends 
from Rome. It was decided to write a letter 
to the ex-bandit in the kitchen, at the bot- 
tom of the fifty-two steps, requesting him 
to do his best, and pointing out recent short- 
comings. D , whose Italian was then 

rudimentary, brought the letter to Mr. 
James, and he walked up and down the 
vast salone of the villa, striking his forehead, 
correcting and improvising. "A really nice 
pudding" was what we justly desired, since 
the Neapolitan genius for sweets is well 
known. Mr. James threw out half phrases 
pursued them- improved upon them with- 
drew them till finally he rushed upon the 
magnificent bathos "un dolce come si deve!" 
which has ever since been the word with 
us for the tiptop thing. 

With the country people he was simplicity 
and friendship itself. I recollect him in 
close talk with a brown-frocked, barefooted 
monk, coming from the monastery of Palaz- 
zuola on the farther side of the Alban lake, 
and how the super-subtle, supersensitive 
cosmopolitan found not the smallest difficulty 
in drawing out the peasant and getting at 

198 



THE VILLA BARBERINI. HENRY JAMES 

something real and vital in the ruder, 
simpler mind. And again, on a never-to-be- 
forgotten evening on the Nemi lake, when, 
on descending from Genzano to the straw- 
berry-farm that now holds the site of the 
famous temple of Diana Nemorensis, we 
found a beautiful youth at the fattoria, who 
for a few pence undertook to show us the 
fragments that remain. Mr. James asked 
his name. "Aristodemo," said the boy, 
looking, as he spoke the Greek name, "like 
to a god in form and stature." Mr. James's 
face lit up, and he walked over the historic 
ground beside the lad, Aristodemo picking 
up for him fragments of terra-cotta from the 
furrows through which the plow had just 
passed, bits of the innumerable small fig- 
urines that used to crowd the temple walls 
as ex-votos, and are now mingled with the 
fragole in the rich alluvial earth. It was a 
wonderful evening; with a golden sun on the 
lake, on the wide stretches where the temple 
stood, and the niched wall where Lord Savile 
dug for treasure and found it; on the great 
ship timbers also, beside the lake, wreckage 
from Caligula's galleys, which still lie buried 
in the deepest depth of the water; on the 
rock of Nemi, and the fortress-like Orsini 
villa; on the Alban Mount itself, where it 
cut the clear sky. I presently came up with 

199 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

Mr. James and Aristodemo, who led us on 
serenely, a young Hermes in the transfiguring 
light. One almost looked for the winged 
feet and helmet of the messenger god! 
Mr. James paused his eyes first on the boy, 
then on the surrounding scene. " Aristo- 
demo!" he murmured, smiling, and more 
to himself than me, his voice caressing the 
word. "What a name! What a place!" 

On another occasion I recall him in com- 
pany with the well-known antiquary, Signor 
Lanciani, who came over to lunch, amusing 
us all by the combination of learning with 
le sport which he affected. Let me quote 
the account of it given by a girl of the party: 

Signor Lanciani is a great man who combines 
being the top authority in his profession with a 
kindness and bonhomie which make even an 
ignoramus feel happy with him and with the 
frankest love for fldnerie and "sport." We all 
fell in love with him. To hear him after lunch, 
in his fluent, but lisping English, holding forth 
about the ruins of Domitian's villa "what 
treasures are still to be found in ziz garden if 
somebody would only dig!" and saying with 
excitement "ziz town, ziz Castello Gandolfo 
was built upon the site of Alba Longa, not Palaz- 
zuola at all. Here, Madame, beneath our feet, 
is Alba Longa" And then suddenly a pause, 
a deep sigh from his ample breast, and a whisper 

200 



THE VILLA BARBERINI. HENRY JAMES 

on the summer air "I vender vether von 
could make a golf-links around ziz garden!" 

And I see still Mr. James's figure strolling 
along the terrace which roofed the crypto- 
porticus of the Roman villa, beside the pro- 
fessor the short coat, the summer hat, the 
smooth-shaven, finely cut face, now alive 
with talk and laughter, now shrewdly, one 
might say coldly, observant; the face of a 
satirist but so human! so alive to all that 
underworld of destiny through which move 
the weaknesses of men and women. We 
were sorry indeed when he left us. But there 
were many other happy meetings to come 
through the sixteen years that remained 
meetings at Stocks and in London; letters 
and talks that were landmarks in my literary 
life and in our friendship. Later on I shall 
quote from his Eleanor letter, the best, per- 
haps, of all his critical letters to me, though 
the Robert Elsmere letters, already published, 
run it hard. That, too, was followed by 
many more. But as I do not intend to give 
more than a general outline of the years that 
followed on 1900, I will record here the last 
time but one that I ever saw Henry James 
a vision, an impression, which the retina of 
memory will surely keep to the end. It was 
at Grosvenor Place in the autumn of 1915, 

201 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

the second year of the war. How doubly 
close by then he had grown to all our hearts ! 
His passionate sympathy for England and 
France, his English naturalization a beau 
geste indeed, but so sincere, so moving 
the pity and wrath that carried him to sit 
by wounded soldiers and made him put all 
literary work aside as something not worth 
doing, so that he might spend time and 
thought on helping the American ambulance 
in France one must supply, all this as the 
background of the scene. 

It was a Sunday afternoon. Our London 
house had been let for a time, but we were 
in it again for a few weeks, drawn into the 
rushing tide of war-talk and war anxieties. 
The room was full when Henry James came 
in. I saw that he was in a stirred, excited 
mood, and the key to it was soon found. He 
began to repeat the conversation of an 
American envoy to Berlin a well-known 
man to whom he had just been listening. 
He described first the envoy's impression of 
the German leaders, political and military, 
of Berlin. "They seemed to him like men 
waiting in a room from which the air is 
being slowly exhausted. They know they 
can't win! It is only a question of how long, 
and how much damage they can do." The 
American further reported that after his 

202 



THE VILLA BARBERINI. HENRY JAMES 

formal business had been done with the 
Prussian Foreign Minister, the Prussian, 
relaxing his whole attitude and offering a 
cigarette, said, "Now then, let me talk to 
you frankly, as man to man!" and began a 
bitter attack on the attitude of President 

Wilson. Colonel listened, and when 

the outburst was done, said: "Very well! 
Then I, too, will speak frankly. I have 
known President Wilson for many years. 
He is a very strong man, physically and 
morally. You can neither frighten him nor 
bluff him " 

And then, springing up in his seat, "And, 
by Heaven! if you want war with America, 
you can have it to-morrow!" 

Mr. James's dramatic repetition of this 
story, his eyes on fire, his hand striking the 
arm of his chair, remains with me as my 
last sight of him in a typical representative 
moment.. 

Six months later, on March 6, 1916, my 
daughter and I were guests at the British 
Headquarters in France. I was there at 
the suggestion of Mr. Roosevelt and by the 
wish of our Foreign Office, in order to collect 
the impressions and information that were 
afterward embodied in England's Effort. 
We came down ready to start for the front, 
in a military motor, when our kind officer 

203 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

escort handed us some English telegrams 
which had just come in. One of them an- 
nounced the death of Henry James; and 
all through that wonderful day, when we 
watched a German counter-attack in the 
Ypres salient from one of the hills south- 
east of Poperinghe, the ruined tower of 
Ypres rising from the mists of the horizon, 
the news was intermittently with me as a 
dull pain, breaking in upon the excitement 
and novelty of the great spectacle around us. 

"A mortal, a mortal is dead!" 

I was looking over ground where every 
inch was consecrated to the dead sons of 
England, dead for her; but even through 
their ghostly voices came the voice of Henry 
James, who, spiritually, had fought in their 
fight and suffered in their pain. 

One year and a month before the American 
declaration of war. What he would have 
given to see it my dear old friend whose 
life and genius will enter forever into the 
bonds uniting England and America! 

Yes! 

. . . He was a priest to us all 

Of the wonder and bloom of the world, 

Which we saw with his eyes and were glad. 

For that was indeed true of Henry James 

as of Wordsworth. The "wonder and 

204 



THE VILLA BARBERINI. HENRY JAMES 

bloom," no less than the ugly or heartbreak- 
ing things, which, like the disfiguring rags 
of old Laertes, hide them from us he could 
weave them all, with an untiring hand, into 
the many-colored web of his art. Olive 
Chancellor, Madame Mauve, Milly, in The 
Wings of a Dove the most exquisite, in some 
ways, of all his women Roderick Hudson, 
St. George, the woman doctor in the Bos- 
tonians, the French family in the Reverbera- 
tion, Brooksmith and innumerable others- 
it was the wealth and facility of it all that 
was so amazing! There is enough observa- 
tion of character in a chapter of the Bos- 
tonians, a story he thought little of, and did 
not include in his collected edition, to shame 
a Wells novel of the newer sort, with its 
floods of clever, half-considered journalism 
in the guise of conversation, hiding an essen- 
tial poverty of creation. Ann Veronica and 
the New Machiavelli, and several other tales 
by the same writer, set practically the same 
scene, and handle the same characters under 
different names. Of an art so false and con- 
fused Henry James could never have been 
capable. His people, his situations, have 
the sharp separateness and something of 
the inexhaustibleness of nature, which does 
not mix her molds. 
As to method, naturally I often discussed 

205 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

with him some of the difficult problems of 
presentation. IThe posthumous sketches of 
work in progress, published since his death, 
show how he delighted in these problems, 
in their very difficulties, in their endless op- 
portunities. As he often said to me, he 
could never read a novel that interested him 
without taking it mentally to pieces and re- 
writing it in his own way. Some of his 
letters to me are brilliant examples of this 
habit of his. Technique, presentation, were 
then immensely important to him; im- 
portant as they never could have been to 
Tolstoy, who probably thought very little 
consciously about them. Mr. James, as we 
all know, thought a great deal about them 
sometimes, I venture to think, too much. 
In The Wings of a Dove, for instance, a sub- 
ject full of beauty and tragedy is almost 
spoiled by an artificial technique, which is 
responsible for a scene on which, as it seems 
to me, the whole illusion of the book is 
shattered. The conversation in the Venice 
apartment where the two fiances one of 
whom, at least, the man, is commended to 
our sympathy as a decent and probable hu- 
man being make their cynical bargain in the 
very presence of the dying Milly, for whose 
money they are plotting, is in some ways a 
tour de force of construction. It is the cen- 

206 



THE VILLA BARBERINI. HENRY JAMES 

tral point on which many threads converge 
and from which many depart. But to my 
mind, as I have said, it invalidates the story. 
Mr. James is here writing as a virtuoso, and 
not as the great artist we know him to be. 
And the same, I think, is true of The Golden 
Bowl. That again is a wonderful exercise 
in virtuosity; but a score of his slighter 
sketches seem to me infinitely nearer to the 
truth and vitality of great art. The book in 
which perhaps technique and life are most 
perfectly blended at any rate, among the 
later novels is The Ambassador. There, 
the skill with which a deeply interesting sub- 
ject is focused from many points of view, 
but always with the fascinating unity given 
to it, both by the personality of the "Am- 
bassador" and by the mystery to which 
every character in the book is related, is 
kept in its place, the servant, not the master, 
of the theme. And the climax which is 
the river scene, when the "Ambassador" 
penetrates at last the long-kept secret of 
the lovers is as right as it is surprising, and 
sinks away through admirable modulations 
to the necessary close. And what beautiful 
things in the course of the handling! the 
old French Academician and his garden, on 
the rive gauche, for example; or the summer 
afternoon on the upper Seine, with its 

207 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

pleasure-boats, and the red parasol which 
finally tells all a picture drawn with the 
sparkle and truth of a Daubigny, only the 
better to bring out the unwelcome fact which 
is its center. The Ambassador is the master- 
piece of Mr. James's later work and manner, 
just as The Portrait of a Lady is the master- 
piece of the earlier. 

And the whole? his final place? when 
the stars of his generation rise into their 
place above the spent field? I, at least, have 
no doubt whatever about his security of fame; 
though very possibly he may be no more 
generally read in the time to come than are 
most of the other great masters of literature. 
Personally, I regret that, from What Maisie 
Knew onward, he adopted the method of 
dictation. A mind so teeming, and an art 
so flexible, were surely the better for the 
slight curb imposed by the physical toil of 
writing. I remember how and when we 
first discussed the pros and cons of dictation, 
on the fell above Cartmel Chapel, when he 
was with us at Levens in 1887. He was then 
enchanted by the endless vistas of work and 
achievement which the new method seemed 
to open out. And indeed it is plain that he 
produced more with it than he could have 
produced without it. Also, that in the use 
of dictation, as in everything else, he showed 

208 



THE VILLA BARBERINI. HENRY JAMES 

himself the extraordinary craftsman that he 
was, to whom all difficulty was a challenge, 
and the conquest of it a delight. Still, the 
diffuseness and over-elaboration which were 
the natural snares of his astonishing gifts 
were encouraged rather than checked by the 
new method; and one is jealous of anything 
whatever that may tend to stand between 
him and the unstinted pleasure of those to 
come after. 

But when these small cavils are done, one 
returns in delight and wonder to the accom- 
plished work. To the wealth of it, above all 
the deep draughts from human life that 
it represents. It is true indeed that there 
are large tracts of modern existence which 
Mr. James scarcely touches, the peasant life, 
the industrial life, the small-trading life, 
the political life; though it is clear that he 
divined them all, enough, at least, for his 
purposes. But in his vast, indeterminate 
range of busy or leisured folk, men and 
women with breeding and without it, backed 
with ancestors or merely the active "sons of 
their works," young girls and youths and 
children, he is a master indeed, and there 
is scarcely anything in human feeling, nor- 
mal or strange, that he cannot describe or 
suggest. If he is without passion, as some 
are ready to declare, so are Stendhal and 

209 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

Turguenieff, and half the great masters of the 
novel; and if he seems sometimes to evade 
the tragic or rapturous moments, it is per- 
haps only that he may make his reader his 
co-partner, that he may evoke from us that 
heat of sympathy and intelligence which sup- 
plies the necessary atmosphere for the subtler 
and greater kinds of art. 

And all through, the dominating fact is 
that it is " Henry James" speaking Henry 
James, with whose delicate, ironic mind and 
most human heart we are in contact. There 
is much that can be learned in fiction; the 
resources of mere imitation, which we are 
pleased to call realism, are endless; we see 
them in scores of modern books. But at the 
root of every book is the personality of the 
man who wrote it. And in the end, that 
decides. 



CHAPTER VIII 

ROMAN FRIENDS. ELEANOR 

""FHE spring of the following year (1900) 
^ saw us again in Rome. We spent our 
April fortnight there, of which I specially 
remember some amusing hours with Sir 
William Harcourt. I see myself, for instance, 
as a rather nervous tourist in his wake and 
that of the very determined wife of a young 
diplomat, storming the Vatican library at 
an hour when a bland custode assured us 
firmly it was not open to visitors. But Sir 
William's great height and bulk, aided by 
his pretty companion's self-will, simply car- 
ried us through the gates by their natural 
momentum. Father Ehrle was sent for and 
came, and we spent a triumphant and de- 
lightful hour. After all, one is not an ex- 
British Cabinet Minister for nothing. Sir 
William was perfectly civil to everybody, 
with a blinking smile like that of the Cheshire 
cat; but nothing stopped him. I laugh still 
at the remembrance. On the way home it 
was wet, and he and I shared a legno. I re- 
member we talked of Mr. Chamberlain, with 

whom at that moment May, 1899 Sir 

211 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

William was not in love; and of Lord Hart- 
ington. "Hartington came to me one day 
when we were both serving under Mr. G., 
and said to me in a temper, 'I wish I could 
get Gladstone to answer letters/ 'My dear 
fellow, he always answers letters.' 'Well, 
I have been trying to do something and I 
can't get a word out of him.' 'What have 
you been trying to do?' 'Well, to tell the 
truth, I've been trying to make a bishop.' 
' Have you? Not much in your line, I should 
think. Now if it had been something about 
a horse ' 'Don't be absurd. He would 

have made a very good bishop. C and 

S [naming two well-known Liberals] told 

me I must so I wrote and not a word! 
Very uncivil, I call it.' 'Who was it?' 'Oh, 
I can't remember. Let me think. Oh yes, 
it was a man with a double name Llewel- 
lyn-Davies.' Sir William, with a shout of 
laughter, 'Why, it took me five years to 
get him made a Canon!" 

The following year I sent him Eleanor, as 
a reminder of our meeting in Rome, and he 
wrote: 

To me the revisiting of Rome is the brightest 
spot of the day-dreams of life, and I treasure all 
its recollections. After the disappointment of 
the day when we were to have seen Albano and 

Nemi under your guidance, we managed the 

212 



ROMAN FRIENDS. ELEANOR 

expedition, and were entranced with the scene 
even beyond our hopes, and since that time I 
have lived through it again in the pages of 
Eleanor, which I read with greediness, waiting 
each number as it appeared. 

Now about Manisty. What a fortunate beg- 
gar, to have two such charming women hi love 
with him! It is always so. The less a man de- 
serves it the more they adore him. That is the 
advantage you women writers have. You al- 
ways figure men as they are and women as 
they ought to be. If I had the composition 
of the history I should never represent two 
women behaving so well to one another under 
the circumstances. Even American girls, ac- 
cording to my observation, do not show so 
much toleration to their rivals, even though in 
the end they carry off their man. . . . 
Your sincerely attached 

W. V. HARCOURT. 

Let me detach a few other figures from a 
gay and crowded time, the ever-delightful 
and indefatigable Boni Commendatore Boni 
for instance. To hear him talk in the 
Forum or hold forth at a small gathering of 
friends on the problems of the earliest Italian 
races, and the causes that met in the founding 
and growth of Rome, was to understand 
how no scholar or archeologist can be quite 
first-rate who is not also something of a 
poet. The sleepy blue eyes, so suddenly 

U.-15 213 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

alive; the apparently languid manner which 
was the natural defense against the outer 
world of a man all compact of imagination 
and sleepless energy; the touch in him of 
"the imperishable child," combined with the 
brooding intensity of the explorer who is 
always guessing at the next riddle; the fun, 
simplicity, bonhomie he showed with those 
who knew him well all these are vividly 
present to me. 

So, too, are the very different character- 
istics of Monseigneur Duchesne, the French 
Lord Acton; like him, a Liberal, and a man 
of vast learning, tarred with the Modernist 
brush in the eyes of the Vatican, but at 
heart also like Lord Acton, by the testimony 
of all who know, a simple and convinced be- 
liever. 

When we met Monseigneur Duchesne at 
the house of Count Ugo Balzani, or in the 
drawing-room of the French Embassy, all 
that showed, at first, was the witty ecclesi- 
astic of the old school, an abbe of the eigh- 
teenth century, fin, shrewd, well versed in 
men and affairs, and capable of throwing an 
infinity of meaning into the inflection of a 
word or the lift of an eyebrow. I remember 
listening to an account by him of certain 
ceremonies in the catacombs in which he had 
taken part, in the train of an Ultramontane 

214 



ROMAN FRIENDS. ELEANOR 

Cardinal whom he particularly disliked. He 
himself had preached the sermon. A mem- 
ber of the party said, "I hear your audience 
were greatly moved, Monsignore." Duchesne 
bowed, with just a touch of irony. Then 
some one who knew the Cardinal well and 
the relation between him and Duchesne, said, 
with malice prepense, "Was his Eminence 
moved, Monsignore?" Duchesne looked up 
and shook off the end of his cigarette. 
"Non, Monsieur," he said, dryly, "his 
Eminence was not moved oh, not at all!" 
A ripple of laughter went round the group 
which had heard the question. For a second, 
Duchesne's eyes laughed, too, and were then 
as impenetrable as before. My last remem- 
brance of him is as the center of a small 
party in one of the famous rooms of the 
Palazzo Borghese which were painted by the 
Caracci, this time in a more serious and com- 
municative mood, so that one realized in 
him more clearly the cosmopolitan and liberal 
scholar, whose work on the early Papacy, 
and the origins of Christianity in Rome, is 
admired and used by men of all faiths and 
none. Shortly afterward, a Roman friend 
of ours, an Englishman who knew Mon- 
seigneur Duchesne well, described to me the 
impressions of an English Catholic who had 
gone with him to Egypt on some learned 

215 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

mission, and had been thrown for a time 
into relations of intimacy with him. My 
friend reported the touch of astonishment 
in the Englishman's mind, as he became 
aware of the religious passion in his com- 
panion, the devotion of his daily mass, the 
rigor and simplicity of his personal life; and 
we both agreed that as long as Catholicism 
could produce such types, men at once so 
daring and so devout, so free, and yet so 
penetrated with so steeped in the im- 
memorial life of Catholicism, the Roman 
Church was not likely to perish out of 
Europe. 

Let me, however, contrast with Mon- 
seigneur Duchesne another Catholic per- 
sonality that of Cardinal Vaughan. I re- 
member being asked to join a small group of 
people who were to meet Cardinal Vaughan 
on the steps of St. Peter's, and to go with 
him, and Canon Oakley, an English convert 
to Catholicism, through the famous crypt 
and its monuments. We stood for some 
twenty minutes outside St. Peter's, while 
Cardinal Vaughan, in the manner of a cice- 
rone reeling off his task, gave us in extenso 
the legendary stories of St. Peter's and St. 
Paul's martyrdoms. Not a touch of criti- 
cism, of knowledge, of insight a childish tale, 
told by a man who had never asked himself 

216 



ROMAN FRIENDS. ELEANOR 

for a moment whether he really believed it. 
I stood silently by him, inwardly comparing 
the performance with certain pages by the 
Abbe Duchesne, which I had just been read- 
ing. Then we descended to the crypt, the 
Cardinal first kneeling at the statue of St. 
Peter. The crypt, as every one knows, is 
full of fragments from Christian antiquity, 
sarcophagi of early Popes, indications of the 
structures that preceded the present build- 
ing, fragments from papal tombs, and so on. 
But it was quite useless to ask the Cardinal 
for an explanation or a date. He knew noth- 
ing, and he had never cared to know. Again 
and again, I thought, as we passed some 
shrine or sarcophagus bearing a name or 
names that sent a thrill through one's his- 
torical sense "If only J. R. Green were here! 
how these dead bones would live!" But 
the agnostic historian was in his grave, and 
the Prince of the Roman Church passed 
ignorantly and heedlessly by. 

A little while before, I had sat beside the 
Cardinal at a luncheon-party, where the case 
of Doctor Schell, the Rector of the Catholic 
University of Wiirzburg, who had published 
a book condemned by the Congregation of 
the Index, came up for discussion. Doctor 
Schell's book, Catholicismus und Fortschritt, 
was a plea on behalf of the Catholic Universi- 

217 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

ties of Bavaria against the Jesuit seminaries 
which threatened to supplant them; and he 
had shown with striking clearness the disas- 
trous results which the gradual narrowing 
of Catholic education had had on the Catho- 
lic culture of Bavaria. The Jesuit influence 
at Rome had procured the condemnation of 
the book. Doctor Schell at first submitted; 
then, just before the luncheon-party at which 
I was present, withdrew his submission. 

I saw the news given to the Cardinal. 
He shrugged his shoulders. "Oh, poor fel- 
low!" he said. "Poor fellow!" It was not 
said unkindly, rather with a kind of easy 
pity; but the recollection came back to me 
in the crypt of St. Peter's, and I seemed to 
see the man who could not shut his ear to 
knowledge and history struggling in the grip 
of men like the Cardinal, who knew no history. 

Echoes and reflections from these incidents 
will be found in Eleanor, and it was the case 
of Doctor Schell that suggested Father 
Benecke. 

So the full weeks passed on. Half Eleanor 
had been written, and in June we turned 
homeward. But before then, one visitor 
came to the Villa Barberini in our last weeks 
there, who brought with him, for myself, a 
special and peculiar joy. My dear father, 

218 



ROMAN FRIENDS. ELEANOR 

with his second wife, arrived to spend a week 
with us. Never before, throughout all his 
ardent Catholic life, had it been possible for 
him to tread the streets of Rome or kneel in 
St. Peter's. At last, the year before his 
death, he was to climb the Janiculum, and 
to look out over the city and the plain whence 
Europe received her civilization and the vast 
system of the Catholic Church. He felt as 
a Catholic; but hardly less as a scholar, one 
to whom Horace and Virgil had been familiar 
from his boyhood, the greater portion of 
them known by heart, to a degree which is 
not common now. I remember well that 
one bright May morning at Castle Gandolfo, 
he vanished from the villa, and presently, 
after some hours, reappeared with shining 
eyes. 

"I have been on the Appian Way I have 
walked where Horace walked!" 

In his own autobiography he writes: "In 
proportion to a man's good sense and sound- 
ness of feeling are the love and admiration, 
increasing with his years, which he bears 
toward Horace." An old-world judgment, 
some will say, which to us, immersed in 
this deluge of war which is changing the 
face of all things, may sound, perhaps, as a 
thin and ghostly voice from far away. It 
comes from the Oxford of Newman and 

219 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

Matthew Arnold, of Jowett and Clough; 
and for the moment, amid the thunder and 
anguish of our time, it is almost strange to 
our ears. But when the tumult and the 
shouting die, and "peace has calmed the 
world," whatever else may have passed, the 
poets and the thinkers will be still there, safe 
in their old shrines, for they are the "age- 
less mouths" of all mankind, when men are 
truly men. The supposed reformers, who 
thirst for the death of classical education, 
will not succeed, because man doth not live 
by bread alone, and certain imperishable 
needs in him have never been so fully met 
as by some Greeks and some Latins, writing 
in a vanished society, which yet, by reason 
of their thought and genius, is still in some 
real sense ours. More science? More for- 
eign languages? More technical arts? Yes! 
All these. But if democracy is to mean the 
disappearance of the Greek and Latin poets 
from the minds of the future leaders of our 
race, the history of three thousand years 
is there to show what the impoverishment 
will be. 

As to this, a personal experience, even 
from one who in Greek literature is only a 
"proselyte of the gate," may not be without 
interest. I shall never forget the first time, 
when, in middle life, I read in the Greek, 

230 



ROMAN FRIENDS. ELEANOR 

so as to understand and enjoy, the " Aga- 
memnon" of ^Eschylus. The feeling of 
sheer amazement at the range and power of 
human thought and at such a date in his- 
tory which a leisurely and careful reading 
of that play awakened in me, left deep marks 
behind. It was as though for me, thence- 
forward, the human intellect had been sud- 
denly related, much more clearly than ever 
before, to an absolute, ineffable source, "not 
itself." So that, in realizing the greatness of 
the mind of ^Eschylus, the creative Mind 
from which it sprang had in some new and 
powerful way touched my own; with both 
new light on the human' Past, and mysterious 
promise for the Future. Now, for many 
years, the daily reading of Greek and Latin 
has been not only a pleasure, but the only 
continuous bit of mental discipline I have 
been able to keep up. 

I do not believe this will seem exaggerated 
to those on whom Greek poetry and life 
have really worked. My father, or the 
Master, or Matthew Arnold, had any ama- 
teur spoken in similar fashion to them, 
would have smiled, but only as those 
do who are in secure possession of some 
precious thing, on the eagerness of the 
novice who has just laid a precarious hold 
upon it. 

221 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

At any rate, as I look back upon my 
father's life of constant labor and many 
baffled hopes, there are at least two bright 
lights upon the scene. He had the comfort 
of religious faith, and the double joy of the 
scholar and of the enthusiast for letters. He 
would not have bartered these great things, 
these seeming phantoms 

Eternal as the recurrent cloud, as air 
Imperative, refreshful as dawn-dew 

for any of the baser goods that we call real. 
A year and a half after his visit to Rome, 
he died in Dublin, where he had been for 
years a Fellow and Professor of the Irish 
University, occupied in lecturing on English 
literature, and in editing some of the most 
important English Chronicles for the Rolls 
Series. His monument, a beautiful medal- 
lion by Mr. Derwent Wood, which recalls 
him to the life, hangs on the wall of the 
University Church, in Stephen's Green, 
which was built in Newman's time and under 
his superintendence. The only other monu- 
ment in the church is that to the great 
Cardinal himself. So once more, a^ in 1886, 
they the preacher and his convert are to- 
gether. "Domine, Deus meus, in Te speravi." 

So, on my father's tablet, runs the text below 

222 



ROMAN FRIENDS. ELEANOR 

the quiet, sculptured face. It expresses the 
root fact of his life. 

A few weeks before my father's death 
Eleanor appeared. It had taken me a year 
and a quarter to write, and I had given it 
full measure of work. Henry James wrote 
to me, on receipt of it, that it gave him 

the chance to overflow into my favorite occupa- 
tion of rewriting as I read, such fiction as I 
can read. I took this liberty in an inordinate 
degree with Eleanor and I always feel it the 
highest tribute I can pay. I recomposed and 
reconstructed her from head to foot which I 
give you for the real measure of what I think of 
her. I think her, less obscurely a thing of 
rare beauty, a large and noble performance, rich, 
complex, comprehensive, deeply interesting and 
highly distinguished. I congratulate you heartily 
on having mene d bonne fin so intricate and diffi- 
cult a problem, and on having seen your sub- 
ject so wrapped in its air and so bristling with 
its relations. I should say that you had done 
nothing more homogeneous, nor more hanging 
and moving together. It has Beauty the book, 
the theme and treatment alike, is magnificently 
mature, and is really a delightful thing to have 
been able to do to have laid at the old golden 
door of the beloved Italy. You deserve well of 
her. I can't "criticize" though I could (that 
is, I did but can't do it again) rewrite. The 

223 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

thing's infinitely delightful and distinguished, 
and that's enough. The success of it, specifically, 
to my sense is Eleanor, admirably sustained 
in the "high-note" way, without a break or a 
drop. She is a very exquisite and very rendered 
conception. I won't grossly pretend to you that 
I think the book hasn't a weakness and rather a 
grave one, or you will doubt of my intelligence. 
It has one, and in this way, to my troubled 
sense: that the anti-thesis on which your sub- 
ject rests isn't a real, valid anti-thesis. It was 
utterly built, your subject, by your intention, 
of course, on one; but the one you chose seems 
to me not efficiently to have operated, so that 
if the book is so charming and touching even so, 
that is a proof of your affluence. Lucy has in 
respect to Eleanor that is, the image of Lucy 
that you have tried to teach yourself to see 
has no true, no adequate, no logical antithetic 
force and this is not only, I think, because 
the girl is done a little more de chic than you 
would really have liked to do her, but because 
the nearer you had got to her type the less she 
would have served that particular condition of 
your subject. You went too far for her, or, going 
so far, should have brought her back roughly 
speaking stronger. (Irony and various things ! 
should at its hour have presided.) But I 
throw out that more imperfectly, I recognize, 
than I should wish. It doesn't matter, and not 
a solitary reader in your millions, or critic in 
your hundreds, will either have missed, or have 

224 



ROMAN FRIENDS. ELEANOR 

made it! And when a book's beautiful, nothing 
does matter! I hope greatly to see you after the 
New Year. Good night. It's my usual 1.30 A.M. 
Yours, dear Mrs. Ward, always, 

HENRY JAMES. 

I could not but feel, indeed, that the book 
had given great pleasure to those I might 
well wish to please. My old friend, Mr. 
Frederic Harrison, wrote to me: "I have 
read it all through with great attention and 
delight, and have returned to it again and 
again. ... I am quite sure that it is the 
most finished and artistic of all your books 
and one of the most subtle and graceful 
things in all our modern fiction." And 
Charles Eliot Norton's letter from Shady 
Hill, the letter of one who never praised 
perfunctorily or insincerely, made me glad: 

"It would be easier to write about the 
book to any one else but you. . . . You 
have added to the treasures of English 
imaginative literature, and no higher reward 
than this can any writer hope to gain." 
The well-known and much-loved editor of 
the Century, Richard Watson Gilder, "on 
this the last Sunday of the nineteenth cen- 
tury" so he headed his letter sat down 
to give a long hour of precious time to 
Eleanor's distant author. 

225 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

How can you reconcile it to your conscience 
to write a book like Eleanor that keeps a poor 
fellow reading it to a finish till after three in 
the morning? Not only that but that keeps 
him sobbing and sighing "like a furnace," that 
charms him and makes him angry that hurts 
and delights him, and will not let him go till all 
is done! Yes, there are some things I might 
quarrel with but, ah, how much you give of 
Italy of the English, of the American three 
nations so well-beloved; and how much of 
things deeper than peoples or countries. 

Imagine me at our New England farm with 
the younger part of the family in my annual 
"retreat." Last year at this time I was here, 
with the thermometer a dozen degrees below 
zero; now it is milder, but cold, bleak, snowy. 
Yesterday we were fishing for pickerel through 
the ice at Hayes's Pond hi a wilderness where 
fox abound and where bear and deer make rare 
appearances all within a few miles of Lenox 
and Stockbridge. The farmer's family is at one 
end of the long farm-house I am at the other. 
It is a great place to read one reads here with 
a sort of lonely passion. You know the land- 
scape it is in Eleanor. Last night (or this 
morning) I wanted to talk with you about 
your book or telegraph but here I am calmly 
trying to thank you both for sending us the 
copy and, too, for writing it. 

Of the "deeper things" I can really say noth- 
ing except that I feel their truth, and am 

226 



ROMAN FRIENDS. ELEANOR 

grateful for them. But may I not applaud 
(even the Pope is " applauded," you know) 
such a perfect touch as for instance in Chap- 
ter XVI "the final softening of that sweet 
austerity which hid Lucy's heart of gold"; and 
again " Italy without the forestieri" "like sur- 
prising a bird on its nest"; and the scene be- 
held of Eleanor Lucy pressing the terra-cotta 
to her lips; and Italy "having not enough faith 
to make a heresy" (true, too, of France, is it 
not?) and Chapter XXIII "a base and plunder- 
ing happiness"; and the scene of the confes- 
sional; and that sudden phrase of Eleanor's hi 
her talk with Manisty that makes the whole 
world and the whole book right, "She loves 
you!" That is art. . . . But, above all, my dear 
lady, acknowledgments and praise for the hand 
that created "Lucy" that recreated, rather 
my dear countrywoman! Truly, that is an ac- 
complishment and one that will endear its author 
to the whole new world. 

And again one asks whether the readers 
that now are write such generous, such en- 
couraging things to the makers of tales, as 
the readers of twenty years ago! If not, I 
cannot but think it is a loss. For praise is a 
great tonic, and helps most people to do 
their best. 



It was during our stay on the Alban hills 
that I first became conscious in myself, after 

227 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

a good many springs spent in Italy, of a 
deep and passionate sympathy for the mod- 
ern Italian State and people; a sympathy 
widely different from that common temper 
in the European traveler which regards Italy 
as the European playground, picture-gallery, 
and curiosity-shop, and grudges the smallest 
encroachment by the needs of the new nation 
on the picturesque ruin of the past. Italy 
in 1899 was passing through a period of 
humiliation and unrest. The defeats of the 
luckless Erythrean expedition were still hot 
in Italian memory. The extreme Catholic 
party at home, the sentimental Catholic 
tourist from abroad, were equally contemptu- 
ous and critical; and I was often indignantly 
aware of a tone which seemed to me un- 
generous and unjust toward the struggling 
Italian State, on the part of those who 
had really most cause to be grateful for all 
that the youngest and oldest of European 
Powers had done in the forty years since 
1860 to furnish itself with the necessary 
equipment, moral, legal, and material, of a 
modern democracy. 

This vein of feeling finds expression in 
Eleanor. Manisty represents the scornful 
dilettante, the impatient accuser of an 
Italy he does not attempt to understand; 
while the American Lucy, on the other side, 

228 



ROMAN FRIENDS. ELEANOR 

draws from her New England tradition a 
glowing sympathy for the Risorgimento and 
its fruits, for the efforts and sacrifices from 
which modern Italy arose, that refuses to be 
chilled by the passing corruptions and scan- 
dals of the new regime. Her influence pre- 
vails and Manisty recants. He spends six 
solitary weeks wandering through middle 
Italy, in search of the fugitives Eleanor and 
Lucy who have escaped him and at the 
end of it he sees the old, old country and her 
people with new eyes which are Lucy's eyes. 

"What rivers what fertility what a climate! 
And the industry of the people! Catch a few 
English farmers and set them to do what the 
Italian peasant does, year in and year out, with- 
out a murmur! Look at all the coast south of 
Naples. There is not a yard of it, scarcely, that 
hasn't been made by human hands. Look at 
the hill towns; and think of the human toil 
that has gone to the making and maintaining 
of them since the world began. . . . Ecco! there 
they are" and he pointed down the river to 
the three or four distant towns, each on its moun- 
tain spur, that he,ld the valley between them 
and Orvieto, pale jewels on the purple robe of 
rock and wood "So Virgil saw them. So the 
latest sons of time shall see them the homes of a 
race that we chatter about without understand- 
ing the most laborious race in the wide world. 
. . . Anyway, as I have been going up and down 

II.-16 229 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

their country, . . . prating about their poverty, 
and their taxes, their corruption, the incompe- 
tence of their leaders, the mischief of their 
quarrel with the Church; I have been finding 
myself caught in the grip of things older and 
deeper incredibly, primevally old! that still 
dominate everything, shape everything here. 
There are forces in Italy, forces of land and soil 
and race only now fully let loose that will 
remake Church no less than State, as the gen- 
erations go by. Sometimes I have felt as though 
this country were the youngest in Europe; with 
a future as fresh and teeming as the future of 
America. And yet one thinks of it at other times 
as one vast graveyard; so thick it is with the 
ashes and the bones of men! The Pope and 
Crispi! waves, both of them, on a sea of life 
that gave them birth 'with equal mind'; and 
that 'with equal mind' will sweep them both 
to its own goal not theirs! . . . No there are 
plenty of dangers ahead. . . . Socialism is seri- 
ous; Sicily is serious; the economic difficulties 
are serious ; the House of Savoy will have a rough 
task, perhaps, to ride the seas that may come. 
But Italy is safe. You can no more undo what 
has been done than you can replace the child in 
the womb. The birth is over. The organism is 
still weak, but it lives. And the forces behind 
it are, indefinitely, mysteriously stronger than 
its adversaries think." 

In this mood it was that, when the book 
came out in the autumn of 1900, I prefixed 

230 



ROMAN FRIENDS. ELEANOR 

to it the dedication "To Italy, the beloved 
and beautiful, Instructress of our past, 
Delight of our present, Comrade of our 
future, the heart of an Englishwoman offers 
this book." 

" Comrade of our future. 1 ' As one looks out 
to-day upon the Italian fighting-line, where 
English troops are interwoven with those of 
Italy and France for the defense of the 
Lombard and Venetian plain against the 
attack of Italy's old and bitter enemy, an 
attack in which are concerned not only the 
fortunes of Italy, but those also of the 
British Empire, I wonder what touch of 
prophecy, what whisper from a far-off day, 
suggested these words written eighteen years 
ago? 



EPILOGUE 

AND here, for a time at least, I bring 
these Recollections to an end with the 
century in which I was born, and my own 
fiftieth year. Since Eleanor appeared, and 
my father died, eighteen years have gone- 
years for me of constant work, literary and 
other. On the one hand, increasing interest 
in and preoccupation with politics, owing to 
personal links and friendships, and a life 
spent, as to half the year, in London, have 
been reflected in my books; and on the 
other, the English rural scene, with its coun- 
try houses and villages, its religion, and its 
elements of change and revolution, has been 
always at my home gates, as a perpetually 
interesting subject. Old historic situations, 
also, have come to life for me again in new 
surroundings, as in Lady Rose's Daughter, 
The Marriage of William Ashe, and Fen- 
wck's Career; in Richard Meynell I at- 
tempted the vision of a Church of England 
recreated from within, with a rebel, and not 
as in Robert Elsmere an exile, for a hero; 
Lady Connie is a picture of Oxford as I saw 
her in my youth, as faithful as I can now 
make it; Eltham House is a return to the 

232 



EPILOGUE 

method of William Ashe, and both Lady 
Connie and Missing have been written since 
the war. Missing takes for its subject a frag- 
ment from the edge of that vast upheaval 
which no novel of real life in future will be 
able to leave out of its ken. In the first two 
years of the war, the cry both of writers and 
public so far as the literature of imagina- 
tion was concerned tended to be "any- 
thing but the war"! There was an eager 
wish in both, for a time, in the first onrush 
of the great catastrophe, to escape from it 
and the newspapers, into the world behind 
it. That world looks to us now as the 
Elysian fields looked to J^neas as he ap- 
proached them from the heights full not 
only of souls in a blessed calm, but of those 
also who had yet to make their way into exist- 
ence as it terribly is, had still to taste reality 
and pain. We were thankful, for a time, to 
go back to that kind, unconscious, unforesee- 
ing world. But it is no longer possible. The 
war has become our life, and will be so for 
years after the signing of peace. 

As to the three main interests, outside my 
home life, which, as I look back upon half a 
century, seem to have held sway over my 
thoughts contemporary literature, religious 
development, and social experiment one is 
tempted to say a few last summarizing things, 

233 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

though, amid the noise of war, it is hard to 
say them with any real detachment of mind. 
When we came up to London in 1881, 
George Eliot was just dead (December, 
1880); Browning and Carlyle passed away 
in the course of the 'eighties; Tennyson in 
1892. I saw the Tennyson funeral in the 
Abbey, and remember it vividly. The bury- 
ing of Mr. Gladstone was more stately; this 
of Tennyson, as befitted a poet, had a more 
intimate beauty. A great multitude filled 
the Abbey, and the rendering, in Sir Fred- 
erick Bridge's setting, of " Crossing the Bar" 
by the Abbey Choir sent the "wild echoes" 
of the dead man's verse flying up and on 
through the great arches overhead with a 
dramatic effect not to be forgotten. Yet the 
fame of the poet was waning when he died, 
and has been hotly disputed since; though, 
as it seems to me, these later years have 
seen the partial return of an ebbing tide. 
What was merely didactic in Tennyson is 
dead years ago; the difficulties of faith and 
philosophy, with which his own mind had 
wrestled, were, long before his death, swal- 
lowed up in others far more vital, to which 
his various optimisms, for all the grace in 
which he clothed them, had no key, or sug- 
gestion of a key, to offer. The " Idylls," so 
popular in their day, and almost all, indeed, 

234 



EPILOGUE 

of the narrative and dramatic work, no longer 
answer to the needs of a generation that has 
learned from younger singers and thinkers a 
more restless method, a more poignant and 
discontented thought. A literary world fed 
on Meredith and Henry James, on Ibsen or 
Bernard Shaw or Anatole France, or Synge 
or Yeats, rebels against the versified argu- 
ment, however musical or skilful, built up 
in " In Memoriam," and makes mock of what 
it conceives to be the false history and weak 
sentiment of the "Idylls." All this, of course, 
is true, and has been said a thousand times, 
but and here again the broad verdict is 
emerging it does not touch the lyrical fame 
of a supreme lyrical poet. It may be that 
one small volume will ultimately contain all 
that is really immortal in Tennyson's work. 
But that volume, it seems to me, will be 
safe among the golden books of our liter- 
ature, cherished alike by young lovers and 
the " drooping old." 

I only remember seeing Tennyson twice 
once in a crowded drawing-room, and once 
on the slopes of Blackdown, in his big cloak. 
The strong set face under the wide-awake, 
the energy of undefeated age that breathed 
from the figure, remains with me, stamped 
on my memory, like the gentle face of Mrs. 
Wordsworth, or a passing glimpse a gesture 

235 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

of George Meredith as we met on the 
threshold of Mr. Cotter Morison's house at 
Hampstead, one day perhaps in 1886 or 
1887, and he turned his handsome curly head 
with a smile and a word when Mr. Morison 
introduced us. He was then not yet sixty, 
already a little lame, but the radiant physical 
presence scarcely marred. We had some 
passing talk that day, but to my infinite 
regret that was the only time I ever saw 
him. Of his work and his genius I began to 
be aware when "Beauchamp's Career" a 
much truncated version was coming out in 
the Fortnightly in 1874. I had heard him and 
his work discussed in the Lincoln circle, 
where both the Pattisons were quite alive to 
Meredith's quality; but I was at the time 
and for long afterward under the spell of the 
French limpidity and clarity, and the Mere- 
dithian manner repelled me. About the same 
time, when I was no more than three or four 
and twenty, I remember a visit to Cambridge, 
when we spent a week-end at the Bull Inn, 
and were the guests by day of Frederic 
Myers, and some of his Trinity and King's 
friends. Those two days of endless talk in 
beautiful College rooms with men like Fred- 
eric Myers, Edmund Gurney, Mr. Gerald 
Balfour, Mr. George Prothero, and others, 
left a deep mark on me. Cambridge seemed 

236 



EPILOGUE 

to me then a hearth whereon the flame of 
thought burnt with far greater daring and 
freedom than at Oxford. Men were not 
so afraid of one another; the sharp religious 
divisions of Oxford were absent; ideas were 
thrown up like balls in air, sure that some 
light hand would catch and pass them on. 
And among the subjects which rose and fell 
in that warm electric atmosphere, was the 
emergence of a new and commanding genius 
in George Meredith. The place in literature 
that some of these brilliant men were already 
giving to Richard Feverel, which had been 
published some fifteen years earlier, struck 
me greatly; but if I was honest with myself, 
my enthusiasm was much more qualified 
than theirs. It was not till Diana of the 
Crossways came out, after we had moved to 
London, that the Meredithian power began 
to grip me; and to this day the saturation 
with French books and French ideals that I 
owed to my uncle's influence during our 
years at Oxford, stands somewhat between 
me and a great master. And yet, in this case, 
as in that of Mr. James, there is no doubt 
that difficulty even obscurity! are part of 
the spell. The man behind is great enough, 
and rewards the reader's effort to understand 
him with a sense of heightened power, just 
as a muscle is strengthened by exercise. In 

237 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

other words, the effort is worth while; we 
are admitted by it to a world of beauty or 
romance or humor that without it we should 
not know; and with the thing gained goes, 
as in Alpine-climbing, the pleasure of the 
effort itself. 

Especially is this the case in poetry, where 
the artist's thought fashions for itself a 
manner more intimate and personal than in 
prose. George Meredith's poetry is still 
only the possession of a minority, even 
among those who form the poetic audience 
of a generation. There are many of us who 
have wanted much help, in regard to it, 
from others the young and ardent who 
are the natural initiates, the "Mystae" of 
the poetic world. But once let the strange 
and poignant magic of it, its music in dis- 
cord, its sharp sweetness, touch the inward 
ear thenceforward we shall follow its piping. 

Let me record another regret for anoth- 
er lost opportunity. In spite of common 
friends, and worlds that might have met, 
I never saw Robert Louis Stevenson the 
writer who more, perhaps, than any other 
of his generation touched the feeling and won 
the affection of his time. And that by a 
double spell of the life lived and the books 
written. Stevenson's hold both upon his 
contemporaries, and those who since his 

238 



EPILOGUE 

death have had only the printed word of his 
letters and tales whereby to approach him, 
has not been without some points of likeness 

amid great difference to the hold of the 
Brontes on their day and ours. The sense 
of an unsurpassable courage against great 
odds has been the same in both cases; and 
a great tenderness in the public mind for 
work so gallant, so defiant of ill fortune, so 
loyal to its own aims. In Stevenson's case, 
quite apart from the claims of his work as 
literature, there was also an added element 
which, with all their genius, the Brontes did 
not possess the element of charm, the petit 
carillon, to which Renan attributed his own 
success in literature: undefinable, always, 
this last! but supreme. 1 There is scarcely 
a letter of Stevenson's that is without it, it 
plays about the slender volumes of essays or 
of travel that we know so well; but it is 
present not only in the lighter books and 
tales, not only in the enchanting fairy-tale, 
"Prince Otto," but in his most tragic, or 
his most intellectual work in the fragment 
" Weir of Hermiston," or in that fine piece of 
penetrating psychology and admirable nar- 
rative, The Master of Ballantrae. It may, 
I think, be argued whether in the far future 
Stevenson will be more widely and actively 

1 Ti -yap xapiTuv ayairarbv 'A.v9p<i>irot aira.ve.vQtv', 
239 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

remembered whether he will enter into the 
daily pleasure of those who love literature 
more as a letter-writer, or more as a writer 
of fiction. Whether, in other words, his 
own character and personality will not prove 
the enduring thing, rather than the charac- 
ters he created. The volumes of letters, 
with their wonderful range and variety, their 
humor, their bravery, their vision whether 
of persons or scenes already mean to some 
of us more than his stories, dear to us as 
these are. 

He died in his forty-fifth year, at the 
height of his power. If he had lived ten 
twenty years longer, he might well have 
done work that would have set him with 
Scott in the history of letters. As it is, he 
remains the most graceful and appealing, the 
most animated and delightful, figure in the 
literary history of the late nineteenth cen- 
tury. He is sure of his place. " Myriad- 
footed Time will discover many other in- 
ventions; but mine are mine !" And to that 
final award his poems no less than his letters 
will richly contribute the haunting beauty 
of the "Requiem," the noble lines "To my 
Father," the lovely verses "In memory of 
F. A. S." surely immortal, so long as 
mother-hearts endure. 

Another great name was steadily finding 

240 



EPILOGUE 

its place during our first London years. 
Thomas Hardy had already published some 
of his best novels in the 'seventies, and was 
in full production all through the 'eighties 
and 'nineties. The first of the Hardy novels 
that strongly affected me was the Return of 
the Native, and I did not read it till some time 
after its publication. Although there had 
been a devoted and constantly growing audi- 
ence for Mr. Hardy's books for twenty years 
before the publication of Tess of the Durber- 
villes, my own recollection is that Tess 
marked the conversion of the larger public, 
who then began to read all the earlier books, 
in that curiously changed mood which sets 
in when a writer is no longer on trial, but 
has, so to speak, "made good." 

And since that date how intimately have 
the scenes and characters of Mr. Hardy's 
books entered into the mind and memory of 
his country, compelling many persons, slowly 
and by degrees I count myself among this 
tardy company to realize their truth, sin- 
cerity, and humanity, in spite of the pessi- 
mism with which so many of them are tinged; 
their beauty also, notwithstanding the clash- 
ing discords that a poet, who is also a realist, 
cannot fail to strike; their permanence in 
English literature; and the greatness of Mr. 
Hardy's genius! Personally, I would make 

241 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

only one exception. I wish Mr. Hardy 
had not written Jude the Obscure! On the 
other hand, in the three volumes of The 
Dynasts he has given us one of the noblest, 
and possibly one of the most fruitful, experi- 
ments in recent English letters. 

Far more rapid was the success of Mr. 
Kipling, which came a decade later than Mr. 
Hardy's earlier novels. It thrills one's literary 
pulse now to look back to those early paper- 
covered treasures, written by a youth, a 
boy of genius; which for the first time made 
India interesting to hundreds of thousands 
in the Western world; which were the her- 
alds also of a life's work of thirty years, 
unfailingly rich, and still unspent! The debt 
that two generations owe to Mr. Kipling 
is, I think, past calculating. There is a poem 
of his specially dear to me "To the True 
Romance." It contains, to my thinking, 
the very essence and spirit of his work. 
Through all realism, through all technical 
accomplishment, through all the marvelous 
and detailed knowledge he has accumulated 
on this wonderful earth, there rings the 
lovely Linos-song of the higher imagination, 
which is the enduring salt of art. Whether 
it is Mowgli, or Kim, or the Brushwood 
Boy, or McAndrew, or the Centurion of the 
Roman Wall, or the trawlers and submarines 

242 



EPILOGUE 

and patrol-boats to which he lends actual 
life and speech, he carries through all the 
great company the flag of his lady the flag 
of the "True Romance." It was Meredith's 
flag, and Stevenson's and Scott's it comes 
handed down in an endless chain from the 
story-tellers of old Greece. For a man to 
have taken undisputed place in that suc- 
cession is, I think, the best and most that 
literary man can do. And that it has fallen 
to our generation to watch and rejoice in 
Rudyard Kipling's work may be counted 
among those gifts of the gods which bring 
no Nemesis with them. 

Another star was it the one that danced 
when Beatrice was born? was rising about 
the same time as Rudyard Kipling's. The 
Window in Thrums appeared in 1889 a 
masterpiece to set beside the French master- 
piece, drawn likewise from peasant life, of 
almost the same date, Pecheur d'Islande. 
Barrie's gift, also, has been a gift making 
for the joy of his generation; he too has 
carried the flag of the True Romance 
slight, twinkling, fantastic thing, compared 
to that of Kipling, but consecrate to the 
same great service. 

And then beside this group of men, who, 
dealing as they constantly are with the most 
prosaic and intractable material, are yet 

243 



poets at heart, there appears that other 
group who, headed perhaps by Mr. Shaw, 
and kindred in method with Thomas Hardy, 
are the chief gods of a younger race, as hostile 
to "sentimentalism" as George Meredith, 
but without either the power or the wish- 
to replace it by the forces of the poetic 
imagination. Mr. Shaw, whose dramatic 
work has been the goad, the gadfly of a whole 
generation, stirring it into thought by the 
help of a fascinating art, will not, I think, 
elect to stand upon his novels; though his 
whole work has deeply affected English 
novel-writing. But Mr. Wells and Mr. 
Arnold Bennett have been during the last 
ten or fifteen years vitally different as they 
are the leaders of the New Novel of that 
fiction which at any given moment is chiefly 
attracting and stimulating the men and 
women under forty. There is always a New 
Novel, and a New Poetry, as there was once, 
and many times, a New Learning. The 
New Novel may be Romantic, or Realist, 
or Argumentative. In our day it appears to 
be a compound of the last two at any rate, 
in the novels of Mr. Wells. 

Mr. Wells seems to me a journalist of very 
great powers, of unequal education, and 
much crudity of mind, who has inadver- 
tently strayed into the literature of imagina- 

244 



EPILOGUE 

tion. The earlier books were excellent 
story-telling, though without any Steven- 
sonian distinction; Kipps was almost a mas- 
terpiece; Tono-Bungay a piece of admirable 
fooling, enriched with some real character- 
creation, a thing extremely rare in Mr. 
Wells's books; while Mr. Britling Sees It 
Through is perhaps more likely to live than 
any other of his novels, because the subject 
with which it deals comes home so closely 
to so vast an audience. Mr. Britling, con- 
sidered as a character, has neither life nor 
joints. He, like the many other heroes from 
other Wells novels, whose names one can 
never recollect, is Mr. Wells himself, talking 
this time on a supremely interesting topic, 
and often talking extraordinarily well. There 
are no more brilliant pages, of their kind, 
in modern literature than the pages describ- 
ing Mr. Britling' s motor-drive on the night 
of the declaration of war. They compare 
with the description of the Thames in Tono- 
Bungay. These, and a few others like them, 
will no doubt appear among the morceaux 
choisis of a coming day. 

But who, after a few years more, will ever 
want to turn the restless, ill-written, undi- 
gested pages of The New Machiavelli again 
or of half a dozen other volumes, marked 
often by a curious monotony both of plot and 

n.-i7 245 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

character, and a fatal fluency of clever talk? 
The only thing which can keep journalism 
alive journalism, which is born of the mo- 
ment, serves the moment, and, as a rule, dies 
with the moment is again the Steven- 
sonian secret! charm. Diderot, the prince 
of journalists, is the great instance of it in 
literature; the phrase "sous le charme" is 
of his own invention. But Mr. Wells has not 
a particle of charm, and the reason of the 
difference is not far to seek. Diderot wrote 
for a world of friends "C'est pour moi et 
pour mes amis que je Us, que je reflechis, que 
fecris" Mr. Wells for a world of enemies 
or fools, whom he wishes to instruct or show 
up. Le Neveu de Rameau is a masterpiece of 
satire; yet there is no ill-nature in it. But 
the snarl is never very long absent from Mr. 
Wells's work; the background of it is dis- 
agreeable. Hence its complete lack of magic, 
of charm. And without some touch of these 
qualities, the a peu pres of journalism, of that 
necessarily hurried and improvised work 
which is the spendthrift of talent, can never 
become literature, as it once did under the 
golden pen of Denis Diderot. 

Sainte Beuve said of Stendhal that he was 
an exdtateur d'idees. Mr. Wells no doubt 
deserves the phrase. As an able journalist, 
a preacher of method, of foresight, and of 

246 



EPILOGUE 

science, he has much to say that his own time 
will do well to heed. But the writer among 
us who has most general affinity with Sten- 
dhal, and seems to me more likely to live 
than Mr. Wells, is Mr. Arnold Bennett. Mr. 
Bennett's achievement in his three principal 
books, the Old Wives' Tale, Clayhanger, and 
Hilda Lessways, has the solidity and relief 
the ugliness also! of Balzac, or of Sten- 
dhal; a detachment, moreover, and a cool- 
ness, which Mr. Wells lacks. These qualities 
may well preserve them, if " those to come" 
find their subject-matter sufficiently inter- 
esting. But the Comedie Humaine has a 
breadth and magnificence of general con- 
ception which govern all its details, and 
Stendhal's work is linked to one of the most 
significant periods of European history, and 
reflects its teeming ideas. Mr. Bennett's 
work seems to many readers to be choked 
by detail. But a writer of a certain quality 
may give us as much detail as he pleases 
witness the great Russians. Whenever Mr. 
Bennett succeeds in offering us detail at 
once so true and so exquisite as the detail 
which paints the household of Lissy-Gory 
in War and Peace, or the visit of Dolly to 
Anna and Wronsky in Anna Karenin, or 
the nursing of the dying Nicolas by Kitty 
and Levin, he will have justified his method 

247 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

with all its longueurs. Has he justified it 
yet? 

One great writer, however, we possess who 
can give us any detail he likes without 
tedium, because of the quality of the intel- 
ligence which presents it. Mr. Conrad is 
not an Englishman by race, and he is the 
master, moreover, of a vast exotic experience 
of strange lands and foreign seas, where very 
few of his readers can follow him with any 
personal knowledge. And yet we instinc- 
tively feel that in all his best work he is 
none the less richly representative of what 
goes to make the English mind, as compared 
with the French, or the German, or the 
Italian mind a mind, that is, shaped by 
sea-power and far-flung responsibilities, by 
all the customs and traditions, written and 
unwritten, which are the fruit of our special 
history, and our long-descended life. It is 
this which gives value often to Mr. Conrad's 
slightest tales, or intense significance to de- 
tail, which, without this background, would 
be lifeless or dull. In it, of course, he is at 
one with Mr. Kipling. Only the tone and 
accent are wholly different. Mr. Conrad's 
extraordinary intelligence seems to stand 
outside his subject, describing what he sees, 
as though he were crystal-gazing at figures 
and scenes, at gestures and movements, mag- 

248 



EPILOGUE 

ically clear and sharp. Mr. Kipling, on the 
other hand, is part of intimately one with 
what he tells us; never for a moment 
really outside it; though he has at command 
every detail and every accessory that he 
needs. 

Mr. Galsworthy, I hope, when this war 
is over, on which he has written such vivid, 
such moving pages (I know! for in some of its 
scenes on the Somme battle-fields, for in- 
stance I have stood where he has stood), 
has still the harvest of his literary life be- 
fore him. Since The Country House it does 
not seem to me that he has ever found a 
subject that really suits him and " sub- 
ject is everything." But he has passion and 
style, and varied equipment, whether of 
training or observation; above all, an indi- 
viduality it is abundantly worth while to 
know. 

On the religious development of the last 
thirty years I can find but little that is glad- 
dening, to myself, at any rate, to say. There 
are ferments going on in the Church of 
England which have shown themselves in a 
series of books produced by Oxford and Cam- 
bridge men, each of them representing some 
greater concession to modern critical and 
historical knowledge than the one before it. 

249 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

The war, no doubt, has gripped the hearts 
and stirred the minds of men, in relation to 
the fundamental problems of life and des- 
tiny, as nothing else in living experience has 
ever done. The religious minds among the 
men who are perpetually fronting death in 
the battle-line seem to develop, on the one 
hand, a new and individual faith of their 
own, and, on the other, an instinctive criti- 
cism of the faiths hitherto offered them, 
which in time may lead us far. The com- 
plaints, meanwhile, of " empty churches" 
and the failing hold of the Church of England, 
are perhaps more persistent and more mel- 
ancholy than of old; and there is a general 
anxiety as to how the loosening and vivifying 
action of the war will express itself religiously 
when normal life begins again. The "Life 
and Liberty" movement in the Anglican 
Church, which has sprung up since the war, 
is endeavoring to rouse a new Christian 
enthusiasm, especially among the young; 
and with the young lies the future. But the 
war itself has brought us no commanding 
message, though all the time it may be si- 
lently providing the "pile of gray heather" 
from which, when the moment comes, the 
beacon-light may spring. 

The greatest figure in the twenty years 
before the war seems to me to have been 

250 



EPILOGUE 

George Tyrrell. The two volumes of his 
biography, with all their absorbing interest, 
have not, I think, added much to the effect 
of his books. A Much-abused Letter, Lex 
Orandi, Scylla and Charybdis, and Chris- 
tianity at the Cross-Roads have settled noth- 
ing. What book of real influence does? They 
present many contradictions; but are there- 
by, perhaps, only the more living. For 
one leading school of thought they go not 
nearly far enough; for another a good deal 
too far. But they contain passages drawn 
straight from a burning spiritual experience, 
passages also of a compelling beauty, which 
can hardly fall to the ground unfruitful. 
Whether as Father Tyrrell's own, or as 
assimilated by other minds, they belong, at 
least, to the free movement of experimental 
and inductive thought, which, in religion as 
in science, is ever the victorious movement, 
however fragmentary and inconclusive it 
may seem at any given moment to be. Other 
men Doctor Figgis, for instance build up 
shapely and plausible systems, on given 
material, which, just because they are plausi- 
ble and shapely, can have very little to do 
with truth. It is the seekers, the men of 
difficult, half-inspired speech, like T. H. 
Green and George Tyrrell, through whose 
work there flashes at intervals the "gleam" 

251 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

that lights human thought a little farther 
on its way. 

Meanwhile, it must often seem to any one 
who ponders these past years, as if what is 
above all wanting to our religious moment 
is courage and imagination. If only Bishop 
Henson had stood his trial for heresy! 
there would have been a seed of new life in 
this lifeless day. If only, instead of deserting 
the churches, the Modernists of to-day would 
have the courage to claim them! there again 
would be a stirring of the waters. Is it not 
possible that Christianity, which we have 
thought of as an old faith, is only now, with 
the falling away of its original sheath-buds, 
at the beginning of its true and mightier 
development? A religion of love, rooted in 
and verified by the simplest experiences of 
each common day, possessing in the Life of 
Christ a symbol and rallying cry of inex- 
haustible power, and drawing from its own 
corporate life of service and aspiration, de- 
veloped through millions of separate lives, 
the only reasonable hope of immortality, 
and the only convincing witness to a Divine 
and Righteous Will at work in the universe; 
it is under some such form that one tries 
to dream the future. The chaos into which 
religious observance has fallen at the present 
day is, surely, a real disaster. Religious ser- 

m 



EPILOGUE 

vices in which men and women cannot take 
part, either honestly or with any spiritual 
gain, are better let alone. Yet the ideal of 
a common worship is an infinitely noble one. 
Year after year the simplest and most crying 
reforms in the liturgy of the Church of Eng- 
land are postponed, because nobody can 
agree upon them. And all the time the 
starving of "the hungry sheep" goes on. 

But if religious ideals have not greatly 
profited by the war, it is plain that in the 
field of social change we are on the eve 
of transformations throughout Europe 
which may well rank in history with the 
establishment of the Pax Romana, or the 
incursion of the northern races upon the 
Empire; with the Renaissance, or the French 
Revolution. In our case, the vast struggle, 
in the course of which millions of British men 
and women have been forcibly shaken out 
of all their former ways of life and sub- 
mitted to a sterner discipline than anything 
they have ever known, while, at the same 
time, they have been roused by mere change 
of circumstance and scene to a strange new 
consciousness both of themselves and the 
world, cannot pass away without perma- 
nently affecting the life of the State and 
the relation of all its citizens to each other. 
In the country districts, especially, no one, 

25? 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

of my years can watch what is going on with- 
out a thrilling sense, as though, for us who 
are nearing the last stage of life, the closed 
door of the future had fallen mysteriously 
ajar and one caught a glimpse through it 
of a coming world which no one could have 
dreamt of before 1914. Here, for instance, 
is a clumsy, speechless laborer of thirty-five, 
called up under the Derby scheme two years 
ago. He was first in France and is now 
in Mesopotamia. On his first leave he re- 
appears in his native village. His family and 
friends scarcely know him. Always a good 
fellow, he has risen immeasurably in mental 
and spiritual stature. For him, as for Cor- 
tez, on the "peak in Darien," the veil has 
been drawn aside from wonders and secrets 
of the world that, but for the war, he would 
have died without even guessing at. He 
stands erect; his eyes are brighter and larger; 
his speech is different. Here is another a 
boy a careless and troublesome boy he 
used to be who has been wounded, and has 
had a company officer of whom he speaks, 
quietly indeed, but as he could never have 
spoken of any one in the old days. He has 
learned to love a man of another social world, 
with whom he has gone, unflinching, into a 
hell of fire and torment. He has seen that 
other dare and die, leading his men, and has 

254 



EPILOGUE 

learned that a " swell" can reckon his life 
his humble, insignificant life as it used to 
be as worth more than his own. 

And there are thousands on whom the 
mere excitement of the new scenes, the new 
countries, cities, and men, has acted like 
flame on invisible ink, bringing out a hun- 
dred unexpected aptitudes, developing a 
mental energy that surprises themselves. 
"On my farm," says a farmer I know, "I 
have both men that have been at the front, 
and are allowed to come back for agricultural 
purposes, and others that have never left 
me. They were all much the same kind of 
men before the war; but now the men who 
have been to the front are worth twice the 
others. I don't think they know that they 
are doing more work, and doing it better 
than they used to do. It is unconscious. 
Simply, they are twice the men they were." 

And in the towns, in London, where, 
through the Play Centers, I know something 
of the London boy, how the discipline, the 
food, the open air, the straining and stimu- 
lating of every power and sense that the war 
has brought about, seems to be transforming 
and hardening the race! In the noble and 
Pauline sense, I mean. These lanky, restless 
lads have indeed "endured hardness." 

Ah, let us take what comfort we can from 

255 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

these facts, for they are facts in face of 
these crowded graveyards in the battle zone, 
and all the hideous wastage of war. They 
mean, surely, that a new heat of intelligence, 
a new passion of sympathy and justice, has 
been roused in our midst by this vast and 
terrible effort, which, when the war is over, 
will burn out of itself the rotten things in 
our social structure, and make reforms easy 
which, but for the war, might have rent us 
in sunder. Employers and employed, towns- 
man and peasant, rich and poor in the 
ears of all, the same still small voice, in the 
lulls of the war tempest, seems to have 
been urging the same message. More life- 
more opportunity more leisure more joy- 
more beauty! for the masses of plain men 
and women, who have gone so bare in the 
past and are now putting forth their just 
and ardent claim on the future. 

Let me recall a few more personal land- 
marks in the eighteen years that have passed 
since Eleanor appeared, before I close. 

Midway in the course of them, 1908 was 
marked out for me, for whom a yearly visit 
to Italy or France, and occasionally to Ger- 
many, made the limits of possible travel, by 
the great event of a spring spent in the 
United States and Canada. We saw nothing 

256 



EPILOGUE 

more in the States than every tourist sees 
New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washing- 
ton, and a few other towns; but the interest 
of every hour seemed to renew in me a ner- 
vous energy and a capacity for enjoyment 
that had been flagging before. Our week 
at Washington at the British Embassy with 
Mr. and Mrs. Bryce, as they then were, our 
first acquaintance with Mr. Roosevelt, then 
at the White House, and with American men 
of politics and affairs, like Mr. Root, Mr. 
Garfield, and Mr. Bacon set all of it in 
spring sunshine, amid a sheen of white 
magnolias and May leaf will always stay 
with me as a time of pleasure, unmixed and 
unspoiled, such as one's fairy godmother sel- 
dom provides without some medicinal draw- 
back! And to find the Jusserands there so 
entirely in their right place he so un- 
changed from the old British Museum days 
when we knew him first was one of the 
chief items in the delightful whole. So, too, 
was the discussion of the President, first with 
one Ambassador and then with another. 
For who could help discussing him! And 
what true and admiring friends he had in 
both these able men who knew him through 
and through, and were daily in contact with 
him, both as diplomats and in social life. 
Then Philadelphia, where I lectured on 

257 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

behalf of the London Play Centers; Boston, 
with Mrs. Fields and Sarah Orne Jewett 
a pair of friends, gentle, eager, distinguished, 
whom none who loved them will forget; 
Cambridge, and our last sight of Charles 
Eliot Norton, standing to bid us farewell on 
the steps of Shady Hill; Hawthorne's house 
at Concord; and the lovely shore of Newport. 
The wonderful new scenes unrolled them- 
selves day by day; kind faces and welcom- 
ing voices were always round us, and it was 
indeed hard to tear ourselves away. 

But at the end of April we went north to 
Canada for yet another chapter of quick- 
ened life. A week at Montreal, first with Sir 
William van Home, then Ottawa, and a 
week with Lord and Lady Grey; and finally 
the never-to-be-forgotten experience of three 
weeks in the "Saskatchewan," Sir William's 
car on the* Canadian Pacific Railway, which 
took us first from Toronto to Vancouver, 
and then from Vancouver to Quebec. So in 
a swallow's flight from sea to sea I saw the 
marvelous land wherein, perhaps, in a far 
hidden future, lies the destiny of our race. 

Of all this of the historic figures of Sir 
William van Home, of beloved Lord Grey, 
of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and Sir Robert Bor- 
den, as they were ten years ago, there would 
be much to say. But my present task is done. 

258 



EPILOGUE 

Nor is there any room here for those ex- 
periences of the war, and of the actual fight- 
ing front, to which I have already given ut- 
terance in England's Effort and Towards the 
Goal. Some day, perhaps, if these Recollec- 
tions find an audience, and when peace has 
loosened our tongues and abolished that very 
necessary person, the Censor, there will be 
something more to be written. But now, at 
any rate, I lay down my pen. For a while 
these Recollections, during the hours I have 
been at work on them, have swept me out 
of the shadow of the vast and tragic struggle 
in which we live, into days long past on which 
there is still sunlight though it be a ghostly 
sunlight; and above them the sky of normal 
life. But the dream and the illusion are done. 
The shadow descends again, and the evening 
paper comes in, bringing yet another mad 
speech of a guilty Emperor to desecrate yet 
another Christmas Eve. 

The heart of the world is set on peace. 
But for us, the Allies, in whose hands lies 
the infant hope of the future, it must be a 
peace worthy of our dead and of their sacri- 
fice. "Let us gird up the loins of our minds. 
In due time we shall reap, if we faint not." 

And meanwhile across the western ocean 
America, through these winter days, sends 
incessantly the long procession of her men 

259 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

and ships to the help of the Old World and 
an undying cause. Silently they come, for 
there are powers of evil lying in wait for 
them. But " still they come." The air 
thickens, as it were with the sense of an 
ever-gathering host. On this side, and on 
that, it is the Army of Freedom, and of 
Judgment. 

Christmas Eve, 1917. 



THE END 



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